This Saturday, the UCSB Indus organization will host a celebration in honor of Holi, the Southeast Asian festival of colors.
The event will take place at Goleta Beach at noon. Participants will use an array of colored powders and water guns to color the landscape in the tradition of the second day of the harvest festival. The Indus — an organization aimed at promoting and educating people on Southeast Asian cultural traditions — decided to host a Holi celebration for the first time this year.
The first day of the festival traditionally involves burning dried foliage in order to represent the burning of evil. Indus president Elisha Saini, a fourth-year global studies major, said although Holi’s first day has great religious significance, the group is focusing on the more secular second day of the holiday to make the event comfortable for participants of all faiths.
“We’re not focusing on the religious aspect because it may turn people off, and we want to be as inclusive as possible. Instead, we’re focusing on the second day, a time when everyone drops what they’re doing, drops all their differences and literally paints the country with every colored powder available,” Saini said. “It sounds simple and basic, but when you’re in the moment, it’s really fun.”
The event is free to all students and will provide everyone present with painting supplies. Traditionally, people wear white to celebrate Holi, but attire of any sort is acceptable — so long as participants don’t mind getting it colorfully stained.
According to Saini, the group was inspired by similar celebrations at other schools such as UC Berkeley. Saini said Indus also coordinated with members of Cal Poly’s Indian Student Association to find a suitable time to celebrate Holi.
Indus member and fourth-year computer science major Rahul Kapadia said with the event, the club hopes to reach out to all students, regardless of background or ethnicity.
“I hope it lives up to my expectations — that it will be a joyful and a colorful event where we can celebrate our culture with other Southeast Asians and share [our traditions] with the UCSB community,” Kapadia said.
In addition to Holi, Indus will be hosting its annual Culture Show, the organization’s largest event, on April 27. The Culture Show will feature Hindi film, traditional instruments, a fashion show and Bhangra folk dance.