Clouds of colored powder flew through the air at the University’s celebration of Holi, the Hindu festival of colors. About 100 students gathered at the Frist Campus Center on Wednesday to observe the holiday, a celebration that extols the victory of good over evil.
The event, hosted by the Princeton Hindu Satsangam, involved a half-hour religious puja followed by a celebration in which participants covered each other with colored powder to celebrate the occasion.
During the puja, participants sat in pairs in front of small plates containing framed pictures of Lord Narasimha, an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, as well as offerings of rice, yellow and red powder, milk, and water.
Various hymns were chanted as part of the ceremony, and participants were provided with booklets to follow along. The ritual was explained, and everyone was encouraged to participate in giving the offerings.
Adhitya Raghavan ’20, one of the organizers of the puja, explained that offerings were given symbolically to welcome God “as one might welcome a guest into one’s home.” The specific actions performed do not matter as much as the devotion with which they are performed.
Hindu Satsangam members explained that the color celebration was preceded by a puja to establish the religious basis of the holiday.
“We wanted to give attendees an opportunity to observe and experience the religious background surrounding Holi,” said Rik Nag ’19.
After the puja, participants were given packets of colored powder and asked to go to the Frist South Lawn for the color celebration.
Outside, participants threw colored powder on each other with the goal of getting everyone as colorful as possible. Participants tried to surprise their friends by smothering them in color, and many took advantage of the opportunity to take pictures covered in colored powder.
“Holi is definitely one of my favorite holidays and celebrating with friends is what made this one special,” said Akash Pattnaik ’20.
“I thought it was a lot of fun and gave me an opportunity to get together with so many people and learn the significance behind Holi,” added Raghavan.
Members of the Hindu Satsangam also said the event served as a valuable cultural exchange.
“It was a great way for [Princeton Hindu Satsangam] to share our culture and have fun with the rest of campus,” said Pranav Rekapalli ’20.
The event, hosted by the Princeton Hindu Satsangam, was held at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the Frist Campus Center.