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Murray State celebrates Holi with festival of colors

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The Murray State Indian Students Association (ISA) is inviting students and staff to participate in a celebration on Saturday morning for the Hindu Festival known as Holi.

Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, celebrates the beginning of Spring and the triumph of good over evil. Though the holiday is primarily celebrated in India and Nepal, it is also celebrated by millions of people worldwide.

One of the stories attributed to Holi’s origins is the defeat of the Hindu mythological demon Hiranyakashipu. In Hindu scriptures, he was defeated by the god Vishnu, which symbolized good overcoming evil.

The colorful celebration celebrates the love between Hindu gods Krishna and Radha. Each color has a different meaning. When participants throw colors on each other, it signifies unity and for participants to enjoy each other's company.

Murray State graduate student Rituja Newase is the publicity officer for ISA. She said the event is an opportunity for students and faculty to learn more about Holi and to have a sense of belonging.

“Holi is a great festival that everyone can celebrate because it is enthusiastic,” Newase said. “You can play with colors with your friends. It is a spiritual occasion where everyone comes together.”

Murray State’s Department Chair for Computer Science and Information Systems Victor Raj is the faculty advisor for ISA. He said the holiday gives people the opportunity to forget about their status and differences between other people.

“The sprinkling of the colors makes everyone equally dirty,” Raj said. “So then you will not be able to distinguish one from the other; they are all like one body. Old, young, rich, poor, none of those barriers matter anymore.”

Newase said the event would not be possible without the hard work of ISA students. She said the event and others like it help break down cultural barriers as well as preserve the cultural heritage of students.

“Nowadays generations don’t follow their own culture,” Newase said. “By coming to the events they can understand the other communities' culture and if they like it, if they want to pursue it they start following it. It goes on from generation to generation.”

The annual celebration will be held on Murray State’s quad behind Pogue Library on Saturday at 11 a.m. Food and beverages will be provided. Participants are asked to wear clothing they don’t mind getting stained.

Mason Galemore is a Murray State student studying journalism. He was the editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper. Since then has explored different publication avenues such as broadcasting. He hopes to travel as a journalist documenting conflict zones and different cultures. He remembers watching the Arab Spring in 2011 via the news when he was a kid, which dawned in a new age of journalism grounded in social media. His favorite hobbies are hiking, photography, reading, writing and playing with his Australian Shepard, Izzy. He is originally from Charleston, Missouri.
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