International and American students celebrate Holi, the Indian festival of colors, at the International House on March 2 (Lauren Jackson/The Chanticleer).

Lauren JacksonStaff Writer

The first ever Holi celebration took place at the JSU International House on Friday, March 2. The event hosted students from all over campus and featured games, presentations and traditional Indian food.

“It’s a big festival celebrated in Hindu countries. It is about celebrating life and colors. This is something that has never been done before at JSU, and we are making sure that students can celebrate and that we support them,” said Stephanie Marmion-Smith, Coordinator of International Students and Programs.

The celebration began with Indian students sharing the meaning of the event and telling stories of their experiences from home. Holi is a festival of colors and love to celebrate the arrival of spring. Guests were given leis and presented with a dot of red powder on their forehead in welcome.

Students were able to participate in traditional games like the one pictured above, where students tried to pop others’ balloons while keeping their own balloon safe (Lauren Jackson/The Chanticleer).

Indian students then demonstrated how to play cricket and introduced various games to the attendees. In one game students attempted to pop each other’s balloons while protecting their own. In another, three students attempted to find a penny in a bucket of colored water among other coins. The person that was able to find the penny twice dumped the colored water on the other two players.

Wilson O’Dell, a Junior studying social work, initially came to event as part of a school project but enjoyed the games at the festival.

“It seemed like something fun and different to do around here,” said Wilson.

Sabin Banj Zara is an international student form Nepal. He is a freshman at JSU studying computer science. He was all smiles at the festival as he shared the celebration with students.

“This is amazing! It is our first time having this event, and we are so excited to have all these people!” said Zara.

Zara’s favorite thing about the ceremony was the involvement of the people.

“We have these events so that people can have a better understanding of other cultures,” he said.

Oore Olayinka was another International Student in attendance to the event. She is studying criminal justice and is from Nigeria.

Olayinka said, “I try to support students. I think people should come check out the International House events, because they are usually really fun. This has been much more fun than I thought it would be.”

The final part of the event took students to the back of the International House where the colored water and powder was used. Indian music played as students drenched themselves—and each other—in colors.

Students shake colored powder into the air in celebration of Holi, an Indian holiday that celebrates spring (Lauren Jackson/The Chanticleer).

“In India, this is such a big deal and to live this is like my bucket list,” said Grace Cockrell, a Freshman Communications student.

Cockrell added, “This is the coolest thing ever! It is so awesome to see all these cultures come together.”

Organizers of the event were impressed with the turnout

“This is great,” said Jim Hazarika, one of the international students leading the event. “We were expecting 30 people to come, but there was so much more than that!”


See more pictures from Lauren Jackson below:


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