Updated as of April 3, 2022 at 10:13 p.m. to include additional video.

The Speaker Commons at Elon University witnessed colored powder fill the air on the very first day of April. The bright celebration was recognizing and honoring the Hindu holiday and festival, Holi. It’s been two years since Elon celebrated the tradition in-person, but the colors have returned to campus. 

Also known as the Festival of Colors, Holi marks the start of spring after a long winter. According to the Hindu calendar, Holi fell on March 18 this year, but Elon celebrated it on April 1 for schedule and weather reasons. Holi begins the day prior with Holika Dahan, where there is lighting of bonfire in the evening to signify victory over evil. The colors come out the following day and the festival lasts until sundown. 

For marketing professor Smaraki Mohanty, celebrating Holi at this time in the semester was perfect, especially for students and other Elon community members who needed it. Mohanty, who is from east India, has been celebrating in the U.S. since she moved here eight years ago.

“It's a busy time of the semester, it's a good way to celebrate life too — celebrate the good in life because this is what this celebration is about,” Mohanty said.

Since joining the Elon community this year, Mohanty said she has enjoyed seeing the university celebrate other cultures. Though she is part of a small Hindu community at Elon, she admires the recognition the school has for celebrations like Holi. As of the Spring 2022 registrar's report, there are currently 24 Hindu undergraduate students. 

“It's really nice to see, even though we have such a small community of Indian people around, that every festival is being celebrated,” Mohanty said.

Mohanty said that while many people celebrate Holi differently, the celebration is still joyous wherever she goes. This photo story will look at Elon’s long-awaited in-person Holi celebration.