A flurry of multicolored powder descended on Campus Point beach yesterday afternoon as close to 1,000 students and community members took part in an ancient Hindu religious festival called Holi, or the South Asian Festival of Colors.
The celebration, organized by South Asian cultural club UCSB Indus, brought revelers together to throw powdered dyes on one another in the traditional fashion of the holiday as a DJ played top 40 hits and kept the crowd lively. Participants were encouraged to wear white shirts and leave valuables at home.
According to Hindu legend, the several-day-long religious festival commemorates the beginning of spring and the triumph of good over evil. Third-year communication major Sruthi Nair, vice president of Indus, said the event has proven to be extremely popular in the three years the club has hosted it with more and more people turning out each year. Last year’s celebration drew five to six hundred attendees.
“Everyone just gets together and plays Holi,” Nair said. “It’s a really fun event, and it has drawn in a large crowd in the past, and it’s just a great way for everyone to bond and come together and have fun. It’s a great day and I’m excited.”
Indus co-president and third-year psychology and global studies major Pooja Pujara said Holi brings people together and encourages unity amongst diverse people across various social boundaries.
“Holi is the one day of the year that everyone in South Asia gets together, forgets about petty disagreements, tries to mend friendships, meet new people,” Pujara said. “Caste, race, ethnicity, gender, none of those differences matter today, people put them aside for a day.”
Pujara and Nair said they brought the festival to UCSB during their freshman year as a way to build a sense of community on campus.
“What better way bring in the spring than in the Santa Barbara sun?” Pujara said.
First-year Global Studies Major Hannah Barnes said that she heard about Holi through the event Facebook page.
“I thought it was really fun, and it was just cool how everyone came together just had a good time.” Barnes said, “I feel like it should be advertised more because it was so much fun. It was like the color run without the running, and it was just a big party on the beach with everyone throwing colors into the air.”
Pujara said before the event that organizers were expecting about the same amount of people, but hoping for more attendees.
“It’s really nice, it’s very fulfilling to see it grow,” Pujara said.