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Holi brings color to CWRU

What could possibly be better than getting a handful of chalk thrown at you?

On any other day, it might not be so appreciated, but for Holi, it is just what people expect.

Tomorrow, Case Western Reserve University’s undergraduate Indian Students Association (uISA) is hosting an event that uISA president Sagar Patwardhan believes is “by far the most fun spring event of the semester.”

Holi, an event that stems from Hindu religious tales, celebrates the arrival of spring. Though it initially had strong religious ties, the event has adapted into a mostly cultural festival open to people of any race or background.

Simply put, Patwardhan’s definition of Holi is an “event where you get colored and get other people colored.”

Participating students throw bright powder at each other and themselves, resulting in chaotic bursts of color through the crowd. Such a strange and exciting event is certain to gain a following, and as an event that is put on annually at CWRU, Holi has steadily grown over the years.

Last year’s festival attracted between 70 and 80 students, according to Patwardhan- this was already a mighty increase from years before it.

However, this year’s turnout should easily surpass past years, with over 150 students having shown interest on through the Facebook event already.

“Every year we keep getting more and more students,” said Patwardhan, who appreciates the event not only for its tremendous fun, but also for its welcoming attributes.

“For students who grew up celebrating Holi every year, they really like having it here too,” he said. “A lot of students don’t expect that… It’s a special thing for not only me, but everyone who goes.”

Holi at CWRU helps those with a background in the Indian festival feel more at home, but it also helps educate students who are unfamiliar with the Hindu celebration.

Just a few weeks ago Satrang, the Indian Graduate Students Association, hosted a Holi event of its own that a smaller group of students attended. This group included undergraduate students Thomas McKenna and Adhithya Bosskar, and was the first Holi that either of them had been to.

“It was an amazing experience,” said McKenna. “It was very interesting to hear some of the background of the event.”

“I thought it was fun,” said Bosskar. “Not everyone there was Indian, and we were all just throwing colored powder around and eating Indian food.”

Refreshments at tomorrow’s event include samosas and other Indian dishes, along with soft drinks.

Also included with the paint throwing will be water balloons and a slip and slide. CWRU’s Holi is being held later than the traditional Holi, but it is easily explained by the campus’s erratic weather. This year’s Holi was carefully chosen in the hopes of landing on one of Cleveland’s elusive sunny days so that the water throwing could be refreshing and not unpleasant.

“Typically in all Holi programs, water has been a part of it too,” said Patwardhan.

McKenna warns that water makes the paint stick more, but that when it was dry, “it wasn’t hard to get the paint off.” Despite the fact that tomorrow’s Holi includes more water than the graduate version, he still plans on attending.

The event has been highly anticipated across CWRU’s campus. Since becoming the President of uISA, Patwardhan has been both congratulated on past Holi successes and asked about future Holi festivities. “The campus is very excited for event,” he noted.

Every year, the event draws in all types of students, whether they know the roots of Holi’s meaning or not. “In addition to more people, we get bigger diversity too,” said Patwardhan.

Any student is welcome to celebrate the beginning of spring with uISA tomorrow. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Leutner Pavilion.

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About the Contributor
Anne Nickoloff
Anne Nickoloff, Director of Print
Anne Nickoloff, the Director of Print for The Observer, is a senior at Case Western. She hopes to one day be a music journalist, and has spent much of her time in Cleveland covering the local concert scene. In addition to her work with The Observer, she is the editor-in-chief of The Athenian, Case Western's humor magazine. Her articles have been published in Cleveland Scene Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Belt Magazine, Cellar Door and Cleveland Street Chronicle.

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