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[Audio] Murray State Indian Student Association Hosts Colorful Holi Festival on Campus

Nikhil Gangavane, 123rf Stock Photo

You may have seen on television or movies the massive Spring festival of colors in India, known as Holi. This festival was celebrated across India last week but Murray State University's Indian Student Association brings the festival to campus this Saturday. On Sounds Good, Matt Markgraf speaks with the association's president Mayur Bhandare about the history and mythology of the holiday, how his family celebrates back home and the upcoming event on campus.

  Mayur Bhandare says Holi celebrates good overcoming bad. He says it's a time of fun, springtime and love. The festival often features people spreading powdered colors, water colors and water balloons. The night before, a bonfire is lit with music, dancing and food.

The Hindu mythology behind the festival goes that one time there was a demon king named Hiranyakashipu famous for his power. He would go around challenging people and spreading evil. He had a devil sister named Holika who helped do his bidding. His son Prahlad, however, spoke against these evil deeds. So his father and aunt planned an evil conspiracy against him. Holika planned to take Prahlad and put him in a bonfire with her, assuming he would burn away and she would escape. But what happened instead was that Prahlad escaped with the help of Vishnu and Holika burned instead.

In the early days of the festival people would celebrate in the cooled ashes of the bonfire the next morning. Nowadays, they use colorful powder.

Bhandare says when he called his friends back home in India, they talked about using dry colors this year due to current issues with the water system. He recalls in his youth dunking each other in drums of color, getting soaked head to toe. His parents cook food and get together with friends and family. There's also a traditional drink called bhang made with sugar and cannabis leaves... probably not available (or encouraged) in western Kentucky.

The event on campus:

While Holi this year in India was on Thursday, March 24, the event on campus will be on April 2 near the Woods Hall parking lot. There will be music and food. SGA provides the colors. The multicultural office is providing the food. The event is from 11:30 to Noon.

Wear clothes that you're okay with getting soaked in colors.

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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