Holi is a Hindu festival of spring, of colors and of love. And hundreds of Boston College students gathered on St. Clement’s Field on the Brighton Campus on Sunday afternoon to celebrate in the traditional way—by hurling handfuls of violet and orange and other vividly colored powders at each other in a massive, rollicking free-for-all.
The annual Holi celebration is organized on the campus by the South Asian Student Association as part playing colors, part outdoor dance party.
Neha Patel, a senior at the college and one of the organizers, recounted the Holi story. “In ancient times there was a king who was trying to kill his son because his son was trying to get the entire society to worship the Hindu god Krishna or Vishnu. The king was a demon. The king wanted everyone to worship him. So he tried to throw his son off a cliff. He tried to drown him. One day he put his son in his sister’s lap. Her name was Holika. She had a boon from the gods, who said she couldn’t die from a fire. But she was also evil.”
The story goes that she sat in a fire, expecting the son to burn and her own body to be impervious to the flames. In some accounts, she had a protective cloak. Whatever the case, she was wrong. “So she ended up dying in a fire, but the son lived," Patel said.
“So Holi is a celebration of survival, and good over evil, and new beginnings,” Patel said, “because the society had a new chance without the demon king ruling over them. Today Holi has become very modernized. The colors were introduced to celebrate the start of spring and vitality and life.”