I am always excited to experience new events I have not been to before and so, tipped off by a friend the other day, I biked across the river to the East River Flats park, under the looming campus of the U of M, to participate in Holi, 2015.
Holi, the Colorfest, hosted by Bharat, the University of Minnesota’s Indian student group, is a festival originating in India, but which is popular across much of South Asia, which celebrates the arrival of spring, and we could not have a better April weekend in Minnesota for it. As might be evident by my posts over the last year, I am fascinated by the changing of the seasons here, and the various moods and feelings evoked as the environment transitions. In spite of the freeing feeling of springtime, I had not had many very interesting transitional events in my schedule, so what better way to experience the joy of the rising feelings of summer in Minneapolis?
On the banks of the Mississippi, the trees were beginning to leaf out and the grass was already green as a crowd of diverse, white-t shirted revelers gathered. It was quite a crowd, mostly U students, but a few odd members of the community also showed up to partake in the festivities. After the countdown was announced by the DJ’s tent, the group went all out with clouds of blues, greens, pinks, yellows, covering clothing, bodies, hair, in a kaleidoscopic palette. It did not take long for everyone to be completely caked in the bright, pastel, sweet smelling powder, which formed new hues when mixed due to a liberal application of water sprayed from squirt guns and bottles. Each of my arms had its own color scheme by the end, blues and greens on the left, reds and yellows on the right. The pulse of the music from the DJs and created an energy that charged the crowd, people randomly rising and sinking on the shoulders of others in midst of the colorful dancing. Not often you get to see that much human contact in Minnesota, it’s true. All that dancing and chasing people around with squirt guns no doubt took some energy, so some affordable and delicious street food and drink, tea, mango shakes, pakora, and samosas, great to snack on while taking a break.
Best of all, the fest was completely free, which is always a good thing for the college student’s budget (and the librarian’s, for that matter). It has been some time since I was a U of M student myself, so I always feel a bit nostalgic and wistful when I find myself on campus, but this will be a great new memory to establish and I will definitely return in future years.