Hindu festival celebrated with flying colours

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Hundreds of students gathered in the Mansfield-Merton sports grounds on Sunday afternoon to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colour.

Students, dressed in white, threw water and coloured powders on each other to celebrate the Indian agricultural festival which initiates the spring season. 

Organised annually by Oxford University’s Hindu Society, the event reached new heights of popularity this year, welcoming somewhere between 700-900 students.

The event made a profit of £834, which will be invested into the Diwali Ball, another annual event hosted by HUMsoc to raise money for Manav Sadhna, an NGO inspired by the teachings of Gandhi which offers aid to underprivileged children in India.

Over 1300 clicked ‘attending’ on the Facebook page. Event organizer Jamie Patel commented, “Every year for the past 10 years HumSoc has run a Holi event, but this year just happened to be a lot bigger.

“It was a fantastic success, the only problem was that we didn’t realise how successful it was going to be and we sold out of colour within an hour and 20 minutes!

“Considering we had around 66kg of coloured powder, that was unexpected to say the least.’

Another member of HUMsoc told Cherwell “Everyone seemed to look like they were having a great time so we were very happy with the event, especially with the weather.”

Emily Clarke, a second-year historian at St Peter’s College who attended, commented, “It was a really fun, almost carnival atmosphere and everyone was involved.

‘One of the nicest things was that all different groups of friends were mixing and covering each other in paint!’

Another attendee commented: “I’ve got a lot of bruises from the paint but it was so worth it!’

HUMsoc was “amazed by the popularity of the day” and is planning to host the event again next year.

Clarke added “I would definitely go again but next time go prepared – take a big water gun!”

HUMsoc explained the origins of the Holi as “a time when man and nature alike throw off the gloom of winter and rejoice in the colors and liveliness of spring.

“Holi also commemorates various events in Hindu mythology, but for most Hindus it provides a temporary opportunity for Hindus to disregard social norms, indulge in merrymaking and generally ‘let loose.’”

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