Holi: Experience Diversity at Texas A&M

By Shelly Hubertus on April 10, 2013

My friends and me after a day at Holi

Texas A&M has always made an effort to celebrate the various cultures represented in Aggieland with many different celebrations, events and festivals. Last Sunday I was able to experience one of these first hand as my friends and I attended the very colorful festival of Holi, which is a Hindu festival to welcome and celebrate the coming of spring.Originally I intended to go to Holi just to get extra credit for my Indian Music class; then when I heard pelting each other with powdered dye was involved I got really excited.

 

My friends and I arrived at Simpson Drill Field right when everyone was lining up to receive their colorful ammo. Almost everyone was wearing white shirts and dancing to the music that was being played. The whole atmosphere screamed party time and the excitement was contagious. Once dye starting to be handed out the battle began; strangers became friends and friends became enemies as hundreds of college students and a few dogs ran around berating each other with powder and water. It wasn’t long before I was laughing and covered with pink, blue, green and yellow.

Once the first round of color was depleted, many people occupied their time by bringing out backup weapons: water. Trash was removed from the trash cans and replaced with gallons of water which was then dumped on unsuspecting victims in clever sneak attacks. Water guns were filled and war was waged; people like myself who came unaware and unarmed got water bottles and showered crowds of people. Everyone danced. It’s funny what you can learn from a culture based on their go-to dance. For example, I observed that during an upbeat song, Indians danced by doing a lot of jumping, arm flailing, and some hokey-pokey put-your-arm-in-now-take-it-out moves. Americans on the other hand tend to respond to upbeat songs by pelvic thrusting their way to glory or shamelessly reverting to the white guy fist pump.  Cultural differences are so fascinating!

In order to keep the party going they decided to periodically hand out more bags of dye. This was a good plan in theory, but whenever they tried to actually accomplish it all hell broke loose. The crowd went full caveman, stampeding towards the people handing out dye like hipsters to vintage products. I suddenly understood what a true intense Black Friday sale must feel like. People were shoving their way in and out, I felt something pushing up on my elbow and looked to see a person trying to stand up. It was so intense that the poor girl who was trying to hand out the dye  was yelling for people to calm down (in slightly more colorful language).  Thankfully the madness was short lived since they were only handing out small amounts at a time and the crowd quickly stopped trying to kill each other and went back to celebrating.

Holi was a wonderful experience and increased my fascination with Indian culture. It’s nice to go to a University that celebrates unique cultural traditions with people from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. In a world where we so often focus on the differences that aggravate us, it’s really great to be able to appreciate differences that we can all enjoy together. Also my shirt got tye-dyed for free, that was another plus.

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