Holi celebrates return of springtime at Elon

Members of the Elon community gathered at Speakers Corner on April 8 to celebrate the Hindu holiday of Holi by throwing colorful paint into the sky.   

By Sarah Collins ‘18

After an unseasonably cool week at Elon, the clouds cleared Friday afternoon for the annual Holi celebration, a Hindu tradition honoring love and the return of springtime.

>See a slideshow of photos on the Elon University Flickr page.

Students, faculty and members of the Elon community gathered on Speakers Corner for the celebration. Following several minutes of anticipation, participants joyously tossed cups of colorful paint into the air, covering hundreds of revelers in the colors of spring.

Elon’s celebration, co-sponsored by the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life and the university’s Asian Studies Club, took place a few weeks after the official March 24 holiday in India.

For some students, Elon’s Holi celebration was an entirely new experience. “It was so much fun. It’s nice to get to do something that’s not part of your culture,” said sophomore communication design major Emily Barger.

Karl-Luis Neubig, a sophomore international business and finance double major, was surprised by the amount – and taste – of the paint. “I’ve never been covered in so much paint,” he said. “It tastes like flour.”

The annual Holi celebration was held April 8 at Elon University.
For other students, Holi is an Elon tradition. “This is my fourth and final Holi,” said senior broadcast journalism major Jennie Hook. “I think it’s a great representation of how cool it is to learn about other cultures. It’s gotten bigger every year.”

Senior Rachel Garrity, a multifaith engagement intern at the Truitt Center and the student coordinator of the event, said organizing Holi was an enjoyable way to cap off her time at Elon. “This is a great way to teach people about other cultures and spiritualties they’re not familiar with. A lot of students don’t have any previous exposure to Hinduism, so Holi is a good way to educate students about it.”

A sport and event management major, Garrity was responsible for organizing the educational aspects of the program, including posters planted around speaker’s corner displaying the history of Holi in India.

The celebration was followed by an Indian Shabbat dinner co-sponsored by Elon Hillel in the McBride Gathering Space of the Numen Lumen Pavilion.