On Sunday 15th March you may have noticed people on campus throwing coloured chalk at each other and dancing. I was in fact one of those people. We were celebrating the Hindu festival Holi in a big way all thanks to the hard work of the Indian Society.
Holi was traditionally a Hindu spring festival otherwise called the festival of colours. Nowadays it is a celebration of new beginnings and love which allows people to set aside their religious and cultural differences. Moreover, it is about having fun. The celebration on campus was our Indian Society’s take on the occasion and it claimed to be ‘the biggest celebration of Holi in the entire South England.’ All I knew about the event was that it was messy since I’d seen the pictures of friends covered head to toe in multi-coloured chalk. I was not disappointed.
I attended the event by myself so I was worried that it might be a bit awkward when it came to throwing chalk at strangers. Actually it turns out people who don’t know you are more than happy to rub chalk in your face which meant there was very little awkwardness on the day. Moreover, with over 200 people attending the event the redbrick area was much busier than usual so we all just celebrated together! Despite the slightly grey start to the day, the area was soon covered in so many colours you didn’t notice and the dancing chased away the cold (at least a little bit). The event was thoroughly planned with food, music and live performances provided alongside the fantastically coloured chalk. At one point even a conga line was formed.
The only unfortunate aspect was that not more people knew about the event! In fact, most of the attendees I spoke to had only learned of the event from friends and word-of-mouth had obviously not spread the message to the wider local community. I realised this most significantly as I wandered back through Portswood with many questioning glances from the people I passed. In fact I’m convinced a few people were laughing! However, after having washed my hair through five times in the shower, I concluded that it was all definitely worth it!