The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

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April 8, 2024

Happy Holi-days: Local temple celebrates colorful Indian tradition

The Hare Krishna temple of DC hosted its 4th annual Holi celebration March 30, when it brought color and joy to over 3,000 festival-goers.

Revelers throw colored powder in the air to celebrate Holi. The Hare Krishna temple in DC hosted its 4th annual festival this weekend. Photo by Julia Medine.

Holi tradition derives from ancient scriptures of India, according to festival volunteer Lavanye Kari.

“Holi means that God is supreme and joyous, so we color our life with his faith,” Kari said.

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The color to which Kari refers is a non-toxic natural powder of various colors that was available for $5 at the event. Customarily, one throws or rubs the powder on passersby while saying “happy Holi.” Attendees leave the festival drenched in powder.

The colors represent equality among races, the playfulness of God, and the celebration of the beginning of spring, according to junior David Bloch, who co-assisted communications for the event. In addition to setting up for the event, Bloch controlled Facebook and Twitter advertising. His cousins live in the temple and prepare for the festival months in advance.

Bloch and other volunteers set up food tents with tables of Indian Thali meals and a stage for local performers including Guara Vani. Visitors could walk inside the temple and pray, even if they were covered in powder. In the gift shop, one could purchase gifts and souvenirs from the temple.

“The event went really well, which was great for the temple,” he said. “We were more organized than ever and had a lot of fun.”

Holi originated in Bloch’s cousins’ hometown of Vrindavan, India, where children and adults alike celebrate the festival the same way the temple does today.

Attendees crowded around the stage and bobbed to the music throughout the day, but what stood out were the hourly rainbow throws. At the end of each hour, the crowd would stop dancing and count down from 5 as they all prepared piles of powder in hand. They thrust up the powder and a cloud of color filled the air, eliciting awe and excitement.

“The crowds were the largest we’ve ever had, and everyone was smiling,” Bloch said. “It brought happiness to the crowd and meaning to the idea that spring is the birth of color in nature and life.”

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