Today the Hindu festival Holi is celebrated. In advance of this event, Hindoe Studenten Forum Nederland (HSFN) organized a game-night for Hindus last Thursday to get to know one another in the C-Building and prepare for the festivity.
Holi, an originally Hindu celebration, has transpired into a global festivity since Hindus happen to be everywhere around the world. Once spring arrives, Hindus gather to have a spectrum of powdered colors (called gulal or if mixed with water, it’s called rang) tossed onto one another. While mostly associated with India there are vast majorities of Hindus in areas like Sri Lanka, Surinam and India, where large festivities take over entire cities. HSFN organized a get-together for this festivity in the C-Building aimed at encouraging Hindus to get to know another. People who join the association also learn about their culture.
Since some of their Hindu members are actually unfamiliar with Hindu culture HSFN organized a ‘game night’ incorporating Hindu knowledge like taboo, charades and a ‘true or false’ guessing game. To begin the get-together, two guest speakers were invited to share some of their wisdom and thoughts. Pandit (a priest) Dravin Raghubar and Ananta Khemradj (representative of the political party CDA). Both spoke about education although pandit Raghubar emphasized the importance of pursuing a spiritual education alongside a formal one. He also sought to elaborate on the meaning of Holi. Khemradj on the other hand, discussed the importance of cultivating a setting where people can reach their maximum potential. To find the best suited form of education for the type of ambitions and talents one might have.
When asking Pandit Dravin Raghubar about his speech he explains: “I want to further student’s ambitions to educate themselves spiritually alongside their formal education. Holi is definitely a festivity made up of colors and a lot of fun but it also concerns our spirit. The colors represent the burning of our past ego, which cleanses us and allows for further inner growth.” He does have one concern about Holi: “I am worried many Hindus don’t understand the meaning of Holi. They know it is related to a witch and a boy but nothing else.” That is why an association like HSFN can help Hindus delve into such unknown areas together, according to Raghubar. “Holi”, he continues, “is also about stripping yourself of religious, ethnic or income-based labels. It gives people an opportunity to simply be with one another without judgment.”
Holi in the Netherlands
Rahul Mangroe (19, student of ESE), says: “I have never celebrated Holi outside of the Netherlands but it is a lot of fun here. The Hague has some areas with live bands every year. It is not always very traditional music, but sometimes they mix it up with more current things as well.” Arjana (22, student of ESE) also adds: “I have never celebrated it outside of the Netherlands either but there are great events in cities like Utrecht as well.” One of the board members of HSFN, Trivanesh Ramdjanamsingh explains: “We have familiar faces but there are a few new ones. That’s how today, we are giving an opportunity to celebrate Holi with old and new friends.” NAH