USC's annual Holi event brought color to the sky as Aag Ki Raat, previously known as Indian Cultural Exchange, partnered with the Indian Student Organization to host a celebration at Strom fields on Saturday.
Also known as the "festival of colors," a key feature of Holi is throwing colored powders at other people and in the air. It's a festival celebrated globally by the Indian community as a Hindu festival marking the start of spring and the celebration of loved ones.
“To me, Holi means spreading love to people. I mean, technically Holi is celebrated as welcoming of spring and end of winter, but in India and all around the world, people celebrate Holi to spread love," Sahil Kapoor, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student and President of Aag Ki Raat, said.
Megha Jhanji, a pharmacy graduate student, helped organize the event as the treasurer for the Indian Student Organization.
Jhanji talked about the importance of Holi to the Indian community in Columbia and the significance of the holiday to her roots.
“We want to stay connected in some ways to back home, and celebrating the festivals back there is one way to do it,” Jhanji said.
In addition to students, people from the community attended the event as well. Families brought their kids to run around and celebrate. Most people were wearing white or bright colors to celebrate the coming of spring and to show off the powder.
The event was catered by Persis, an Indian restaurant located in Columbia. Participants sat on the grass for a large picnic, eating and catching up with friends, or danced to the Indian music that played in the background.
After everyone finished eating, the colors started flying. Participants were handed a packet of colored powder to start throwing at each other. Bright neon clouds puffed every time someone was hit with a slap of powder.
After a while, everyone gathered for the finale – a collective throw of color. In unison, participants screamed “Happy Holi” as the rainbow cloud hovered over their heads.