Wednesday, March 19, 2014

UT Tyler Celebrates Holi!

While most everyone was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and pinching each other for not wearing green, there was an entirely different celebration taking place Monday! This colorful Indian holiday is known as the Holi, a celebration of the end of winter, love and unity, and the triumph of good over evil. It is celebrated by tossing vibrant paint powder all over each other, dancing to special Holi music, and eating traditional food. On March 17, 2014, The University of Texas at Tyler celebrated had their first annual campus Holi festival on the patio by the Met!
From India, with Love  

Everybody finished getting set up around noon and we started getting plates and eating. There was yummy curry spiced chicken that was to die for. There were also raisin onion cookies! But I fell madly in love with the coconut basil cupcakes. I wish I could remember what they are called, but they are absolutely delicious! If you ever get the chance to try one, I highly recommend them as a self-proclaimed cupcake connoisseur. Once I was done with my cupcake, Keerin and I went over to check out the henna, which never ceases to amaze me.

Keerin's super pretty henna tattoo!
Henna is done with what looks like the tube that a baker squeezes icing out of, but is drawn with the precision and skill that would make DaVinci reach for a Kleenex. The artists’ hands don’t shake as they draw the intricate details. I learned today that Henna ink comes out blackish and bubbly looking, but must dry and it is the residue that leaves the tattoo on one’s skin! It is definitely the coolest thing to watch be done. It’s like watching a ballerina dance on a tightrope.

Suddenly, there was a whisper that it was “time”. What was it time for? I was confused. I was lost. I wanted another coconut basil cupcake. The volunteers began asking us what kind of powder everyone wanted. I was super excited. You mean I get to pick the colors I sling at people? I very politely asked for pink and blue. They told us to run to the field in front of Ornelas Hall and to have a Happy Holi! In a surreal moment of pink, purple, orange, green, and blue powder forming clouds all around laughing college students, we began to cover each other in the powder and wish each other “Happy Holi” with every exuberant splash of color. After about fifteen minutes, we were covered in indistinguishable shades of orange and yellow, blues mixed in with greens.

The end result of the color fest!
That's when I truly saw the essence of what this celebration is about. No longer did it matter if we had ever said more than three words to the person next to us. We are students and we are humans. We are the community of UT Tyler and there is camaraderie to be had there. When I looked at blue mottled green powder on my friend’s hands, I saw that we are the world.

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