Senior celebrates Hindu Festival of Holi

Amit Kaushal and his family annually welcome the spring season by doing puja and dousing one another in vibrant color

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By Amit Kaushal

Covered in vibrant colors with his family, senior Amit Kaushal enjoys the 2019 Hindu Festival of Holi.

Gabby Delpleash, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

Mill Valley News: To start off, tell me about why your family celebrates Holi.

Amit Kaushal: Well, Holi is a religious holiday in India that primarily Hindus celebrate and my family, we follow Hinduism. My family has always celebrated Holi for as long as I can remember. So that’s one of the reasons why we celebrate it. It also represents the coming of spring. So, we celebrate it to represent how spring is finally here after the long winter.

MVN: Are there any traditions that your family has to enhance your celebration of Holi?

AK: Maybe not necessarily exclusively to my family, but, in our driveway we draw these designs called “rangolis”. They’re like flowers with a lot of patterns. We do a lot of that on Holi and we do a thing called a Puja. Which is basically like a religious service we do in our house where we pray to our gods.

MVN: You have a religious service in your house? Do you have it in your living room?

AK: Yes. My family, we have a temple in my living room. So we all gather around that when we do puja. Most families of the Hindu faith have temples in their living room. 

MVN: How do you dress up your living room to make it look more like a temple and less like a sitting room?

AK: So, we have an area in our living room that’s just a shell and it has a bunch of religious pictures of gods. Like, we have different statues and stuff on there. We have red string and then we have a lamp which is referred to as a “diya”; it’s like a candle and you light its wick. Our in-home temple has red string because it is really sacred in Hinduism. The color red is sacred to the faith. 

MVN: Aside from what your family does in their own home, how do you celebrate Holi publicly?

AK: We go to the Hindu temple over by Target called the Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of Kansas City. Over there, they have festivities going on like, they have a lot of food stalls set up. Then we get colored powder and we throw it on one another. Holi is essentially a festival at the temple. There’s DJs playing music. It’s just a really fun time and then it gets messy with all the colors. 

By Julia Shumaker

MVN: You said Holi signifies the beginning of spring. Is that symbolic to covering one another in bright color? 

AK: Yeah, that’s the symbolism behind the color. Spring and summer are more colorful compared to winter. It also represents positivity too because bright colors are associated with positivity and vibrance.

MVN: So by putting the color on each other, you spread that positivity? 

AK: When we throw color on each other that also helps to represent a story that’s important to our religion. Hinduism has two gods called Krishna and Radha. The colors are also supposed to represent their love story, so Holi also represents love.

MVN: Who in your family do you celebrate Holi with? Is it just your immediate family or is it your extended family as well?

AK: It’s both my immediate and extended family and some other friends, my other Indian family friends. A lot of times my sister will bring her friends who aren’t Indian or Hindu and they really enjoy it too. Holi is welcome to anybody and everybody

MVN: Is it common to see people at your temple celebrating Holi who might not belong to the Hindu faith?

AK: I’m not quite sure because there’s always a lot of people there. There’s some people there that aren’t Hindu so I see that, but it’s a welcoming place. You don’t have to be Hindu to celebrate Holi, especially if you’re celebrating it at the temple. Like I said before, it’s open to everybody.

MVN: This year, Holi is on Wednesday, March 8. Will your family be celebrating all-day or just in the evening?

AK: We’ll actually be going to the big celebration at the temple on Saturday. Saturday is when we’ll actually throw the color on each other.

MVN: So then, personally, what meaning does Holi hold toward you?

AK: [To me, Holi means] winter is finally over, the sun coming out, longer days and weather being nice.

MVN: To wrap up on the subject of Holi, what else would you like to add?

AK: Holi is probably my favorite holiday in the Hindu religion. It’s just really fun, the festival of  Holi. You’re just there for a good and fun time.

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