TEXAS, U.S., May 2013 (by M. Vijalapuram/V. Tummala): Holi, also known as "The Festival of Colors," is a Hindu festival that has also become popular with people of other backgrounds and communities, with thousands of people celebrating it each year. Holi is a joyous occasion that commemorates the story of Prahlad, an ardent devotee of Vishnu, prevailing over the demon Holika. Furthermore, Holi ushers in the new spring season, and celebrates good harvests. It is observed worldwide, with participants organizing Holika Dahan, a bonfire symbolizing the defeat of Holika, and throwing colored powder at each other. As college students involved with the Hindu Students Association at our respective universities, we strive to bring together Hindus and individuals of other backgrounds as we celebrate Holi on our campuses.
At the University of Houston the theme for this year's Holi, "Connecting cultures through color" was truly brought to life with the diversity of the students of all cultures who came to celebrate. It is a holiday to unite all cultures and races together. It is a day where no social classes exist; everyone is equal regardless of race, religion or status.
Holi at Texas A&M University had a huge turnout of over 1,500 students, professors and families who, seemingly strangers at first to one another, danced together covered in color.
Holika is a Hindu program that happens every year at Bellaire High School. The event consists of different organizations who organize a dance team competition for all local schools. The purpose of Holika is to provide a fun and informational event which showcases the diversity of Indian culture. An estimated 500 students attended the event this year.
Additionally, the 3rd annual Holi at The University at Texas at Dallas had over 500 students of different backgrounds attend their event and the HSA branch at The University of Texas at Austin hosted their 10th annual Holi this year attended by 6000 students and faculty.