Jacquelyn O. from Point Loma Nazarine University was able to experience Holi while studying abroad in Hyderabad, India. She and fellow AIFS Students abroad enjoyed this famous Festival of Colors, and in the following post, Jacquelyn shares what it was like.
The hot morning air was livened with excitement on the morning of March 17th. While the Western world was preparing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the students at the University of Hyderabad were collecting colors, putting on white clothes, and preparing for a vibrant battle known as the Holi Festival.
Holi is a popular festival of Hindu origins celebrating the coming of spring. It signifies the triumph of good over evil and is a time to frolic, make amends and be thankful in the spirit of love and friendship.
The celebratory drums and loud music beckoned us to join the fun. As we emerged out of the hostel, colors in hand, we faced our first attack. Our new friends walked over and wiped color on each cheek, marking us as participants. We returned the favor and did the same to their faces. As we made our journey over to main campus, we were easy and willing targets.
Every time we passed a group, the same ritual was completed. Grab a handful of color and throw or wipe it on anyone in reach. By the time we reached the other side of campus, our previously white t-shirts looked as if they were pieces of modern art. Our previously blank canvases were now enhanced with a spectrum of vibrant colors.
Once we reached a group of our friends, everything else we had encountered along the way was a mere warm-up. Colors were flying everywhere! Water was thrown, and the sound of laughter and anticipatory screams echoed throughout the area. It was fun, it was colorful, but most of all, it was pure joy.
Holi brings out a simple, childlike joy that many of us forget as we enter adulthood. It was a day dedicated to playing, living carelessly, and literally embracing whatever life throws at you. In a special way, Holi inspired all of us to enjoy the moment, enjoy the people, and enjoy the beautiful customs of another country.
If you are inspired by Jacquelyn’s story, learn more about studying abroad in India with AIFS.