Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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South Asian Students Alliance hosts Holi on Lakefill, celebrating spring and community

Attendees were covered in many colors while celebrating Holi.
Photo courtesy of Aayushya Agarwal
Attendees were covered in many colors while celebrating Holi.

Flashes of blue, green, purple, pink and red filled the air as students donning white splattered water and colors on each other on the Lakefill Saturday afternoon. Shrieks of excitement rang through the sound of wind blowing and music in the background.

Hundreds of students gathered to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colors. Hosted by the South Asian Students Alliance, the annual event commemorated the coming of spring after a long winter, new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil. 

“The flash of color is just a gorgeous scene every year,” McCormick freshman and SASA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion co-Director Shail Belani said. “It’s fun. It’s carefree. I think it’s particularly powerful of everyone being together celebrating spring, which is universal and ubiquitous.”

Holi is usually celebrated in late March, but SASA postponed the event to late April due to weather and a change in executive positions. The event began with South Asian foods like paneer rolls and also included water gun fights. SASA executive members then gave a speech, which preceded the throwing of color. 

SASA encouraged students of all backgrounds to participate in their cultural celebration.

“At a surface level, this is a fun event, and we want to bring people out,” Weinberg sophomore and SASA co-Director of Outreach Sanjana Shankar said. “But on a deeper level, I think it’s really important as a cultural group on campus to make sure that we’re sharing our culture with people who aren’t necessarily as familiar.”

It was many students’ first time celebrating Holi. Although she doesn’t identify as South Asian, Communication freshman Audrey Sy has attended numerous Holis in the past. She came to Saturday’s event with her sorority sisters.

“I think it’s so fun,” Sy said. “It’s great that it’s a celebration of culture that everyone gets to experience. I’m really happy that this is happening, and it’s nice to see the diversity here.”

SASA originally planned to to host the event on Deering Meadow, but moved the celebration to the Lakefill to accommodate for the pro-Palestine encampment on Deering Meadow.

Belani said the two causes required harmony. 

“We want to support the right to free speech and the right to protest, and we also want to respect all parties and sides that might be grieving at this time,” Belani said. “Holi is sort of a dichotomy in that it’s a time of pure joy and fun, which contrasts with a lot of different things that other people might be feeling on campus.”

The celebration brought joy and color, as students spent two hours staining each other’s shirts and faces. By the event’s culmination, most were thoroughly doused in colored powder. Many students said they’ll come back next year.

“It’s a really beautiful concept, now more than ever in light of the huge world conflicts we’re seeing.” SESP sophomore and SASA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion co-Director Maya Turun said. “Sometimes it’s good, especially as a young student, to be able to enjoy the experience that is college and what it means to have a community like this.”

Email: [email protected]

X: @mayaw0ng

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