Students throw colored power at the 2019 CWRU Holi Festival

Holi is known as the “festival of colors” and celebrates the arrival of spring after a long winter. It is also a time for building relationships through play and laughter. In the Hindu tradition, where Holi gets its roots, this playfulness honors the relationship between Srimati Radharani and Lord Krishna and the triumph of good over evil. Although primarily celebrated in India and Nepal, Holi is observed in many other countries throughout Southeast Asia and around the world.

The festival is celebrated by throwing colored powders and water at others. The colors used are culturally symbolic:

  • Red - union & purity
  • Pink - friendliness & happiness
  • Purple - devotion to self & spirit
  • Blue - power & passion
  • Green - vitality & rebirth
  • Yellow - sincerity & piety
  • Orange - strength & courage

Originally, the colors were made from Neem, Kumkum, Haldi and Bilva—medicinal herbs which were simultaneously used in the playful festival as a means of preventing springtime ailments.

Today, many popular events have been inspired by Holi's colorful festivities including the Color Run 5K and the Festival of Colors Music Tour.

Want to learn more? Check out the Kelvin Smith Library's Holi Resource Guide.

2023 Holi Celebration

On Saturday, April 15, 2023, the Center for International Affairs and the Case Western Reserve community will celebrate Holi with our annual event featuring lots of colored powder, Indian street food, water games and other traditions associated with Holi! 

Registration via CampusGroups will provide further event details.

See how much fun CWRU had in 2019 with this video from the event, created by Tetiana Lopatkina.