With explosions of red, blue, purple, green and yellow powder cascading down on California Baptist University students, the campus ushered in this year’s spring with Holi Festival.
The festival, held March 21, attempted to bring a piece of the Indian culture to CBU for international students away from their home country and culture.
“We do a number of events through the International Center on behalf of our students — whether it is a festival from their country, a way for them to express their culture here, or just a way for them to feel home away from home,” said Bryan Davis, director of international students.
Students in white T-shirts squeezed together on CBU’s Front Lawn with handfuls of colored powder.
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one — powder filled the air.
CBU’s Holi Festival is thousands of miles away from the real one. While India’s festival stems from the Hindu religion, CBU partakes in it for its celebration of spring, unity and brotherhood, Davis said.
“We often ask (international students), ‘What is the thing that you miss about home?’” Davis said. “This (festival) is one that always comes up. We just wanted to bring it to CBU and give them an opportunity to feel that home away from home feeling. … And its for them to show us what their culture is and to teach us in that way, because we do so much teaching them that we want to learn from them as well.”
The event left participants caked in color, taking photographs with friends, drinking chai tea and learning moves from two Indian Bollywood dancers.
“I really wanted to just have some fun and throw paint at my friends,” said Jamie Schonfeld, freshman undeclared major. “It was awesome. I have never experienced a cloud of colorful smoke before.”
Kartik Kottapalli, kinesiology graduate student who originates from southern India, explained that the festival in India lasts hours with people coming together in the morning to begin painting one another.
“Sometimes the international students feel homesick, so (the International Center) creates an event where we get some input so we can (participate) in an event and not miss our homes,” Kottapalli said.
The International Center welcomes students from all reaches of the world to join CBU’s community for the “best combination of academic quality and cultural opportunity in a safe and friendly environment.”