By Olivia Pink ’17
On Thursday, April 21, Merrimack hosted the fourth annual “Festival of Colors.” Organized and presented by Interfaith Alliance and the Warriors of Color, the festival known as “Holi” successfully brought together dozens of students and endless bags of bright colored powder.
Holi is a traditional Hindu celebration that aims to highlight the end of winter and the importance of good versus bad, while also showing light of renewing relationships by bridging together social gaps. The various colors of the paint powder represent the ability for man and nature to bask in the liveliness of spring and to celebrate a “vibrant life.”
The event has been hosted annually by Merrimack student organization, Interfaith Alliance. Established in 2012, Interfaith Alliance is a group that brings together different aspects of the student body in order to promote the positive role of religion through volunteer work and student events.
According to Interfaith Alliance member Danya Ali, this event is particularly important to the organization. “It’s so important because it gives a fun and inclusive invitation for cultural and religious discourse,” said Ali. “The purpose is to spread religious diversity and celebrate culture, as inspired by faith and traditional throughout the Merrimack community.”
This year, the Warriors of Color joined Interfaith Alliance to help with the Hindu festival. While it was tough to give up some control, Ali found that the group did a “great job promoting the event.”
“Together as a whole, we wanted to create an atmosphere where different students come together and embrace others in every aspect of life,” said senior organizer for the Warriors of Color, Hannah Walsh. “This event is about acceptance and celebrating the importance of diversity.”
Walsh explained that this event was also a part of her capstone project for a senior marketing course. The aim of the project was to “stop the hate and spread kindness” by representing the silent majority of students.
After weeks of planning, the event was almost canceled last minute due to the unpredictable weather patterns of New England. While grey rain clouds scattered the sky, beams of sunlight eventually shone through and the event was back on.
It did not take long for the air to be filled with laughter and various blasts of color as students began taking handfuls of powder into the sky. Soon every white shirt that was worn to the event had changed into a mixture of purples, blues, greens, yellows and reds.
This was senior Brianna Columbus’ first time attending Holi, but she did not leave disappointed. “I thought the event was awesome!” said Columbus. “I really did not know what to expect going into it and was hesitant at first to get so covered in powder but it was worth it. Once you get that first splash of color on you, you just have to get some more!”