U Campus Organizations Celebrate Holi 2023


(Courtesy Ashlee Janovak)

By Allison Stuart, News Writer


The 2023 celebration of the Hindu Holi festival was not forgotten at the University of Utah.

Several clubs and student organizations gathered together to celebrate. The celebration happens every spring and is known as the Festival of Colors, Love and Spring.

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, “Holi represents the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil.” It also represents the worship and love of Rhadha Krishna, the respective Hindu God and Goddess of Love.

On March 21, about 40 students gathered in the LNCO building to celebrate the start of the Hindu Holi festival.

Faaziah Ghazi is a Fulbright Ambassador student from New Delhi, India. She came to Utah to be a foreign language teaching assistant at the U and as part of her responsibility as a cultural ambassador, she organized the event. 

She said she wanted this event to show the beauty and inclusivity of Holi to all students at the U, adding that this festival is unique because Holi is something everyone can celebrate.

I wanted to talk about different aspects of Indian culture,” Ghazi said. “But this one specifically because I wanted to do something which was related to the big festivals in India.”

According to the 2011 India census, 79.8% of the billion people that live in India are Hindu. In Utah, there are about 9,000 Hindus.

In India, Holi was officially celebrated on March 8, 2023 and includes dancing, festival foods and color exchanges. Ghazi said the reason that the event was held a couple of weeks later was simply due to “universities which are not in India you celebrate before the actual date of the festival or after.”

Festivities at the Celebrate Holi 2023 event included catered food from Saffron Valley and listening to traditional Indian music. The YouTube documentary Braj Ki Holi was played to provide an overview of the festival, and what it means to take part in it.

A student who did not want to have his name included said the festival is special to him because “it represents connection and getting together with people to celebrate the springtime.”

The Union Programming Council also put on an event to celebrate Holi on campus, through an event called Holi Moli. They used the celebration on March 24 as an opportunity to raise funds for the Union scholarship fund. This was done in collaboration with the Asian American Student Association. The original event was set to be held outside, but due to a snowstorm, was moved indoors.

Aarushi Verma, a sophomore studying QAMO and philosophy of science, is the choreographer for the Urvashis Bollywood dance team here at the U. She has been involved with UPC for two years, and was happy she finally got to implement her idea to lead Bollywood Zumba.

I think [the best part was] for the people who came, getting to educate them about different dance styles and have them do the Zumba classes or dances that you don’t really get to practice or hear about,” Verma said. “And I think people really, they appreciated the exposure.” 

In addition to the Bollywood dance classes, other activities included traditional color throwing, South Asian appetizers and lively Desi music.

The Urvashis team performed a variety of traditional dances, including Bharatanatyam, Bollywood and Bhangra. Members of the team came in traditional clothing, wearing outfits called Kurta Pajama and Anarkali Kurta. 

Verma said she was super grateful to have a space on campus to celebrate Holi.

“I think it was great to do some learning, culture and practice [the dances] with people,” she said.


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