It took only a matter of seconds for thousands of students wearing white T-shirts to transform the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Hooker Fields from a pristine sight to colorful chaos.
With multi-hued dust filling the flood-lit field — and instantly painting everything it touched — students turned the evening of March 30 into a kaleidoscope during the annual Holi Moli UNC event.
Hosted by Hindu YUVA, Sangam, Student Government and the Campus Y, Holi Moli UNC, which drew an estimated 2,500 participants — including Chancellor Carol L. Folt and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Winston Crisp — celebrated its eighth year at Carolina.
“It’s so much fun,” said Folt, who was dusted with a rainbow of colors by the end of the event. “The students are having a blast. This is exactly what we love to see, everybody coming together and having a great time — lots of smiles, lots of laughing.”
Holi came to Carolina in the form of Holi Moli in 2008 in an effort to promote multiculturalism and highlight the University’s South Asian community. Also known as a festival of colors, the celebration is accentuated by tossing colored powder — or “Gulal” — to cover participants.
The Hindu tradition is held every March in many parts of South Asia including India and Nepal to celebrate community, happiness and the arrival of spring. Most importantly for Holi Moli UNC co-director Keegan McBribe, the event recognizes unity.
“What it really represents is unity and everyone coming together,” McBride said. “That’s what we want to bring here on to campus. It really extends beyond a lot of different barriers that exist on campus. We have everybody coming, from undergraduates studying anything you can imagine, to graduate students, faculty and staff. It really signifies everybody coming together for this festival.”
Story by Brandon Bieltz and Photos by Jon Gardiner, Office of Communications and Public Affairs