By Jason Lin
Awaiting the arrival of spring, the Desi Culture Club at Brooklyn College hosted a Holi celebration at the West Quad on Tuesday, Mar. 7. In collaboration with USG and the Bangladesh Students Association, the organizers created the same fun atmosphere as last year with music blasting, colorful powder throwing, and cultural embracement.
“Because it is like a cultural celebration, that aspect will be applied to the festival. But it is also something that everyone could participate in; it is not just for those who celebrate Holi,” said Stella Mathew, the president of the Desi Culture Club that organized the festival with her team.
In exchange of winter for spring, observers of the Holi Festival embrace their loved ones, throw dry color powders at one another, among other traditions. As one of the most significant holidays for Hinduism, Holi is especially popular in India. Known for its celebration of colors, the holiday lasts for one day and one night, starting in the evening of Full Moon Day, or Purnima, in the Falgun month, according to holifestival.org. As a club that celebrates Holi itself, the Desi Culture Club used the opportunity to introduce Indian culture to all students at Brooklyn College, which has dozens of different ethnicities, traditions, and cultures represented on campus.
“Everybody is coming together, with all the club and undergraduate student government. It [is] an event for everyone on campus and a lot of fun for cultural reasons for those who haven’t experienced other cultures,” said Madison Martinez, a freshman at Brooklyn College.
The event last Tuesday was done with USG’s support in setting up an annual budget and policies that allow the club to host festivals in school. BSA helped to promote the celebration on the quad with its platform and group that gathers Bangladeshi students, who work to announce events related to their culture. Volunteers collaborated to organize snacks, dry powder, white T-shirts, and other aspects to make sure the fun ran smoothly.
“It’s something that brings people closer; you can see people just having fun. It also promotes Southeast Asia culture,” said Adil Ahmed, coordinator of the Desi Culture Club.
Several of the student participants have roots in India, acknowledging that sharing their culture with other BC students was a great opportunity to embrace the college’s diversity. For some participants, even the dancing and music selection of popular Indian tracks vibrated the richness of Indian culture during the Holi festivities on campus.
“I definitely love celebrating my friends who are of another culture, and it allows me to embrace their culture; to see what they do differently,” said Sanaa Jackman, a junior at Brooklyn College.
In spotlighting the Holi Festival, the Desi Culture Club brought together a rare moment for the massive BC community to immerse themselves in cultural fun. As club members gear up for their biggest event of the spring, Desi Night, they hope to highlight the vastness of Desi culture and celebrations in the best way they know how: through good fun, music, food, and communal gatherings.
“There are so many cultural celebrations, like a basic celebration, that spilled into a different celebration aspect within it. So incorporating those will truly help to bring joy like the Desi Night in May.” Stella said.