1. The Indian subcontinent celebrates the festival of colors, also known as Holi, during the spring. This year, Holi fell on March 1 and 2.
2. But actually, there’s a story behind it …
3. Long story short: A demoness was burned to death with the help of Lord Vishnu. A classic happily ever after.
4. Was that confusing? Well, here’s the real deal: Holika was the evil sister of an equally evil King Hiranyakashipu who wanted everyone to worship him. The king’s son, Prahlad, refused, so his father gave him punishment after punishment – to no avail. Finally, the king asked his sister, who had previously been blessed with the boon of non-flammability, to hold Prahlad while she stood in a fire. Lord Vishnu, however, seeing Holika using her powers for evil, stripped her of her boon and she burned to death. Prahlad survived, killed his dad and became the righteous ruler of the kingdom. Woah. Dab!
5. Holi is a time to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, mend broken relationships and gather to enjoy one another’s presence. This festival ushers in a new season with hope and playfulness.
6. Today, Holi celebrations involve throwing bright colored powder at each other (“Gulal”) and sometimes water and/or water balloons. Basically, it’s heaps of fun.
7. Everyone is fair game for color attacks: Old or young, rich or poor, friend or enemy. It’s a socioeconomic equalizer of the kind most governments struggle to foster …Yep, Holi is woke.
8. The non-PG-13 version of this event also involves an edible variant of cannabis. It’s a drink called “bhang.” Maybe you could call it Marijuana Milk?
9. At this point, maybe our description is evoking a widely-known event: The 5K Color Run. A place for great Instagram pictures and, of course, running.
10. Though the Color Run has some of the same activities as Holi, it doesn’t embody the importance or the culture of Holi itself.
11. If you want to have an authentic Holi experience this year, you’re in luck! Asha for Education will be hosting a Holi Celebration during the first weekend of spring quarter! That is April 7 and 8.
12. If you’re not sold yet, note that all proceeds will go towards catalyzing change in India through the education of underprivileged kids!! WOW!!!
13. If you’re cultured and like to have fun, buy tickets for Asha’s Holi here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/asha-stanford-holi-2018-tickets-42881082472?lang=en-us&locale=en_US&view=domo.
Contact Ayushi Tandel at atandel ‘at’ stanford.edu and Megha Parwani at mparwani ‘at’ stanford.edu.