By Rhea Arora
Elm Staff Writer
This weekend, Washington College saw Holi, the Indian Festival of Color. Not many people had heard about Holi until Snapchat featured a channel on it during celebrations in India. Indian festivals are usually lavishly celebrated. Holi, for instance, is brought in with a
traditional bonfire, sweets and drinks, colored powder, and games with water balloons and water guns. Anyone is fair game. The celebration is not confined to the domains of your home or a party. I’ve been pelted with water balloons from windows of buildings I have walked under during Holi. I also always made it a point to drench anyone walking under my balcony with a bucket of pink and green water. Everyone on the streets is covered from head to toe in color. It’s one of my favorite festivals to witness and be a part of because I adore color.
I do not usually miss home when I’m on campus because I have a busy schedule. I fill my weeks with classes, club meetings, and other activities. Plus, with the greater level of connectivity, I manage to stay in touch with my life in India much more than I would have been able to, say, five-eight years ago. For instance, the date of Holi changes every year. The 2015 date was March 6, but the 2016 date is set for March 23.
This is because the festival is celebrated with the approach of the vernal equinox or full moon. Even the date for Diwali, the Indian Fesitval of Light and India’s biggest holiday, varies, with the 2014 date being Oct. 22 and the 2015 date being Nov. 11 (the dates must coincide with the darkest, new moon night of autumn in India). So how would I keep track of new moons and full moons in India? That’s where technology comes in. With social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Quora, Twitter, and Snapchat, I know exactly when these festivals are celebrated, which makes me miss them.
Being home sick during festivals was not a concern for me when I came to the US because I did not think I would be home sick at all during that time period. However, I am because two things unite Indians like no other: cricket and festivals. When you celebrate a festival in India, you truly feel like a part of a community that is sharing its joys and happiness. This is why I miss home during festivals. WC has helped me with this. For the first time, the GEO put up Diwali and Holi celebrations for the community here to help make us a little happier and less home sick.
Diwali and Holi are beautiful festivals that everyone, regardless of their nationalities, should enjoy. Small colleges like ours do not typically celebrate international festivals because the communities present are not a substantial amount to be able to make
events like these a success. State colleges celebrate international festivals more often because, with their massive student body, they have a high percentage of international students in their population. WC does not have an incredibly high international student population, but it still makes an effort to arrange events like Chinese New Year, Holi, and Diwali. Efforts like these speak volumes to the international community that the administration is trying to create. It highlights WC’s wonderful level of acceptance and curiosity to know more and fosters a greater amount of friendship.
WC makes me miss home less during times when I miss it the most.