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A vibrant Holi-day: Holi celebration marks beginning of spring

Photo credit: Melinda Wang
Hollyn Alpert (’28) runs while tossing blue powder into the air March 22. Students celebrated Holi on the back field and threw colored powder at each other to commemorate the new spring.  

Bursts of neon color decorated students’ hair and clothing as students threw cups of colored powder  into the air in celebration of Holi, the beginning of spring in the Hindu calendar. Surya Patil (’25), Beyla Patil (’27) and Shanthi Seth (’27) organized Archer’s second annual Holi celebration Friday, March 22, on the backfield.

Holi is a Hindu holiday often known as the “Festival of Colors” in countries including India. While the celebration is rooted in ancient Indian mythology, it is celebrated in other South Asian countries like Nepal and Pakistan. Holi is typically celebrated after winter ends, on the last full moon day of the Hindu calendar. Holi typically occurs during March and took place March 25 this year. Usually lasting for two days, the holiday includes a large bonfire celebration on the first day to represent the destruction of evil and the triumph of good.

Surya and Beyla Patil and Seth delivered presentations on Holi to the upper and middle school March 22. They discussed where and when Holi can be celebrated, its origins as a holiday and how to prepare for the celebration at Archer. According to Seth, about 30 people came to the event. All participants were asked to wear light-colored clothing, as light colors symbolize purity and peace.

“On Holi, you throw bright colored powders on really light colored clothing, which represents the start of spring and a new beginning,” Seth said. “Each color powder has a different meaning. Certain colors will represent love, prosperity, happiness, joy and good health.”

Outside of Archer, Beyla Patil said she celebrated Holi by traveling to an open space to throw the colored powder at her family and friends.

“Usually, we go to the park or the beach, and you wear all white clothing,” Patil said. “You throw a bunch of colors at each other, and each color symbolizes a different meaning. Whatever you want most in life, you would throw that color on you the most.”

Red powder symbolizes fertility or romance, while green represents rebirth. Other colors include orange and blue. Seth said she also travels to open areas such as the beach to celebrate Holi, and she does so with an organization called the South Bay Indian American Association.

“My favorite tradition would definitely be the color-throwing but also being with everyone,” Seth said. “Throwing color at the people, you know — it’s always a fun thing to do. Seeing how happy and excited everyone is really great.”

Zoe Eyraud (‘28) participated in the Holi celebration and said it was important for the holiday to be celebrated at Archer. She added her favorite aspect of it was watching her friends get covered in colorful powder.

“I know the Holi festival is very different from my culture,” Eyraud said. “It’s a fun way to be happy with the community and wish your friends happiness. I just thought it was so cool.”

Arranging for the Holi powder to be shipped and deciding where to buy it from were challenges that impacted the planning process, according to Seth. Seth added that in the future, she wants to inform students of the celebration a week in advance or earlier, and she observed heavier participation among middle schoolers.

“Younger students definitely tend to like it because I think it’s right up their alley and fun [or] active,” Seth said. “But I think that there [was] definitely a combination of all grades there. It’s not like there was an excessive amount of one grade.”

Seth reflected on Holi traditions over time and said that while traditions, such as powder-throwing, may not have changed, her perception of the holiday itself has.

“Holi, to me, means spending time with family and friends. Over time, I’ve started to value the family and friendship aspect more than just the actual color-throwing,” Seth said. “It definitely has a deeper meaning of being with the people you love and celebrating the beginning of spring with them.”

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About the Contributor
Melinda Wang
Melinda Wang, Senior Reporter
Melinda Wang joined The Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and is now a senior reporter. She takes art classes and is invested in community service outside of Archer. When she isn't doing homework, you can find her reading, sketching or taking photos.

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