Music, dancing, colored powder fill Holi celebration on LBJ lawn

Nicole Stuessy

Seven thousand students and community members danced, sang and threw colored powder on each other at the LBJ lawn on Sunday for UT’s annual Holi festival, hosted by the Hindu Students Assocation.

Eshan Dabak, HSA financial director, said the group has been planning this event since November and has purchased over 1,000 pounds of rang, or colored powder. The group also included a mini obstacle course activity with facts about Holi.

Dabak, Plan II senior, said there are many meanings behind Holi, some being religious while others are more cultural.

“The message we are trying to promote is unity through diversity,” Dabak said. “We look out into the crowd and see people of all different backgrounds, shapes and sizes, but you can’t really tell the difference once everyone gets color all over them.”

Dabak said because the attendees are diverse, they don’t play one specific genre of music.

“There are a couple of Bollywood and a couple of English songs, and American pop songs in there as well,” Dabak said. “We try to get our DJ to do whatever blend will get people hyped up.”

Nursing junior Erin Bunsen said this was her first time attending a Holi celebration.

“My friends had been trying to get me out here for like three or four years, so I decided it was time to take a break from studying and finally do it,” Bunsen said. “I don’t actually have any Hindu friends, but this event was awesome because I’m pretty used to being around other cultures and it was really cool to get to experience another one.”

Abhi Ilindra, computer science junior, said he has gone to this event with his friends every year he has been at UT.

“My family is Hindu so it does have some personal significance to me,” Ilindra said. “It’s important to have events such as this because of the exposure to a new culture, and for the people who are a part of it, it is something of theirs to enjoy.”

Dabak said this event is one of the largest student-run events on campus.

“(Holi is) a part of the UT experience, but it’s also about what it signifies,” Dabak said. “(Holi) brings a lot of people together for one afternoon to celebrate together, so we can put politics and other forms of division aside and celebrate and have fun.”