Members of the Elon community lined up on a blue tarp spread across Young Commons Friday afternoon in preparation for this year’s Holi celebration. On the count of three, colorful clouds exploded across Young Commons as participants heaved paint into the air.

It didn’t take long for all participants to be covered from head to toe in the dyed water.

“It’s just a fun way to be colorful and kooky for a second,” said junior Amanda Benjamin, who has participated in this celebration the past few years. 

Video Clip: Elon community participates in Holi celebration Friday at Young Commons. Video by Bryan Anderson, news editor.

As familiar faces showed up for the event, new ones emerged. Freshman Eliza Singleton shared her excitement for participating in the Holi celebration.

“I love that Elon does this because it really ties the student body together no matter what anyone’s religion is,” Singleton said.

Holi is a Hindu holiday that is known as the festival of color, spring and sharing love. The tradition of throwing paint at other people emerged from India and Nepal, and it is celebrated on the second day of the Holi festival. 

This year, the actual day of throwing paint called Rangwali Holi was March 23. But Elon prefers to hold the celebration in mid-April when the weather is more spring-like. 

People of all ages attended Elon’s celebration of Rangwali Holi. Before the throwing began, Rachel Garrity, senior multifaith engagement intern for the Truitt Center of Religious and Spiritual Life, spoke about the purpose behind the celebration.

“Remember that Holi is a Hindu celebration that is all about life, color and springtime,” Garrity said.

Signs were put up at the table to provide insight into the religious holiday through the definitions of words like “moksha” (liberation) and “yatra” (pilgrimage,) along with explanations of Hindu beliefs like the Dharma and a deity. 

Garrity said the event was intended to draw members of the Elon community from all sorts of backgrounds to become more informed as they made memories and recognized outside cultures.

“It’s put up by the Truitt Center to try to represent students of all faiths." Garrity said. "There are only 15-20 Hindu students at Elon, but this festival is a continuation of our appreciation for all of the religions that are practiced here."