On Friday evening, the only cloud in the sky at the Weber State University Davis campus was a large plume of pink, purple and green as Wildcats welcomed spring with their own color festival.
At about 6 p.m., celebrators moved their party from inside the D3 Ballroom to outside on the grass, where bags of colored corn starch powder were handed out. After a countdown, everyone began throwing their colors, leaving a colorful haze of dust and a mass of colored revelers.
“This idea started about five years ago from one of the original student councils here at the Davis campus,” said Alexis Marquez, the Davis campus vice president for student senate. “One of the students just decided to do a smaller version of what they do at Spanish Fork, and ever since that year, we’ve just been making it bigger and bigger and adding different components to it. It’s just been so much fun and we look forward to it every spring. Winter’s just a drag, and this just gives you hope.”
Students and community members at the festival spent two hours eating traditional Indian food such as pita bread and jasmine rice. The festival featured henna tattoos, music and sand-art crafts for kids. Students from Divya’s School of Dance performed Indian classical and Bollywood dances. Partygoers also had the opportunity to learn some basic steps from the performers.
“The color festival is called Holi, and it’s traditionally celebrated as kind of a spring festival,” said Parvathi Radhakrishnan, a student at Divya’s School of Dance who performed at the festival. “It’s actually significant in Hindu mythology because there was a demoness called Holika — that’s where the name comes from — and it basically celebrates Krishna defeating this demoness. Basically the power of good over evil, that’s what we’re celebrating.”
Natalie Barcelo, the event organizer and coordinator for diversity programs at the Davis campus, said she’s glad to offer a color festival that is closer to home for most students.
“I understand that we’re all college students, so we can’t afford to go out to Spanish Fork,” Barcelo said. “This one was free, paid for by student fees through the Student Association, so I’m really glad that we were able to offer this to the college students nearby.”
About 200 people attended the event.
“Everyone was happy,” said Barcelo of the crowd. “I think a lot of it has to do with the weather. From yesterday to today, it really got nicer, and that’s the whole point of the Holi Festival, to bring in the spring season, so I’m glad we were able to enjoy the weather today.”
This was WSU student Seth McBride’s first experience at a color festival.
“I loved how you didn’t just throw it at your friends,” he said of the color toss. “Everybody was throwing it at everybody. It kind of brought people together.”
Barcelo said she hopes the school’s annual display of colors continues to grow and attract more students every year.
“I think it’s just a great opportunity to come and get rid of winter and bring in the spring,” she said. “School’s almost over for some of us, so it’s a perfect end-of-year event.”