Clutching their bags of color, a crowd of 340 people counted down from three before staining the sky with plumes of powdered pigment.
For the sixth year in a row, students and community members gathered at the Weber State University Davis campus on Friday to participate in the annual festival of colors.
“We’re welcoming in spring,” said Natalie Barcelo, the Davis campus vice president. “The color is the main aspect.”
In India, the Hindu holiday is called Holi. To celebrate the Indian divinity Krishna and the beauty of spring, festivities of singing, dancing and throwing color are held.
“The Holi color festival is to kind of get rid of the demons or the evil spirits and bring in a new life,” said Alexis Marquez, event program coordinator at the Davis campus. “It’s like rejuvenation and peace and serenity for the new year.”
While celebrating, attendees snacked on samosas, naan, chicken tikka masala and other traditional Indian food provided by Sitara India.
“The food is my favorite part,” Marquez said. “We love Sodexo, but we also love to support our local businesses around the university, so we were fortunate to have Sitara this year.”
Desibels Utah, a Salt Lake City based band, performed upbeat Indian music to keep the crowd moving.
The Garba Girls, a group led by WSU Asian Students Senator Juhi Dubal, performed a traditional Garba dance.
“It’s a Gujurati tradition,” Dubal said of the dance, adding that both she and her sister are Gujurati. “It’s in the festival of Navratri, which is a week-long festival where everybody goes out and just dances. It’s a very spiritual honor, basically just in the celebration of God and life.”
While enjoying the entertainment, a line of people waiting for henna tattoos lengthened. Mountain Mehndi decorated hands, arms, backs and more with designs and glitter.
After celebrating inside, the party was moved outdoors. Packets of colored cornstarch were handed out as people took their places on the lawn in front of D3.
All of the colors for the event were purchased directly from the Sri Sri Radha Krishna temple in Spanish Fork, Utah.
The Krishna Temple holds one of the world’s largest color festivals, and Marquez said she is happy to offer a smaller version to Wildcats.
“The cool thing is you don’t have to drive all the way down there, you don’t have to spend money and it’s open to all the students, faculty, staff and community,” Marquez said. “Here, the great thing is it builds up the Weber community and gives a taste of a culture that we might not know a lot about.”
Paid for by student fees, the event was free for all participants.
For Olyvia Burbidge, event program coordinator at the Davis campus, a color festival on campus is especially relevant.
“There’s only four weeks of school left, and I think everyone’s kind of where they don’t want to go to class anymore,” Burbidge said. “The color fest is exciting. Everyone comes together, and it’s kind of like getting rid of your worries. School’s still going, but we’re okay.”