Thousands of UNC students will take to Hooker Fields today to douse themselves in vivid shades of color to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival that marks the arrival of spring.
Holi Moli is one of the most popular student-run events on campus.
GO TO HOLI MOLI 2016
Doors open at 6 p.m., tonight
$10 tickets, $5 additional color packets
And while Holi is a Hindu celebration with a storied cultural background, many students attend the event with the intention of crossing off an item from their UNC bucket list.
First-year Sarah Wotus said her brother recommended the event to her.
“I’ve never done it before,” Wotus said. “But it’s just one of those things at Carolina you have to do at some point in your four years.”
Celebration of Holi involves dressing in light- or white-colored clothing and spraying color packets on one another. Cultural Co-Chair Saumya Goel said the event provides stress relief, key for students on a college campus.
“It’s all about unity,” Goel said. “Under those clouds of color, no one is bound by socioeconomic status, majors or appearances.”
Holi at UNC began as a small event run by a singular organization. Over time, the event grew to its substantial size through the collaborative efforts of student organizations Sangam, Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Outreach committee, Campus Y and Hindu YUVA.
While previous Holi festivals have been held on Polk Place, Holi Moli took place last year on Hooker Fields, where it will be held again today.
Neil Harwani, a sophomore and co-chairperson for logistics of Holi Moli UNC, said that the decision to move the event stemmed largely from problems of crowd control and cleanup.
“Hooker is easier to control and tarp,” Harwani said. “We’re really concerned with remaining environmentally conscious and keeping the surrounding area clean.”
Over Spring Break, the executive board of Holi Moli UNC presented its plans for the event and received approval from the UNC Environment, Health and Safety Department. Color packets will be distributed and thrown within an area covered by tarps, and any potential color runoff will be controlled.
“All of our color packets have been approved for use,” Goel said. “There’s a very long process involved in getting them cleared. They’ve been through Customs and everything.”
The profits from Holi Moli go to both the YFund, which provides funding for social justice and action through the Campus Y, and the UNC Mahatma Gandhi Fellowship, which allows two or three UNC students to study abroad in a South Asian country each year.
Goel said students attending, whether it's their first time or fourth, should enjoy the experience.
“No matter what, people should come with an open mind and be ready to let loose and have fun."
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