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UIUC Biggest Holi's Festival

By Ying Yee Wong

The Hindu Festival was celebrated at the UIUC with colors to welcome the coming of spring yesterday.

Asha for Education UIUC organized Holi at Arboretum on Saturday afternoon. ​​Harshita Ponugoti, co-president of Asha UIUC, said that all the funding raised in this festival would go to supporting schools in India that educate underprivileged children.

“We are super thrilled that more than 2500 people have shown up today and bought tickets to help raise money for the kids. And we have a huge blast. Everyone has been having fun.” Said Ponugoti.

Asha UIUC members and attendees in Holi UIUC festival.

This year Asha UIUC raised around $30,000, and they spent around $5,000 for setting up this event. Ponugoti said they would donate approximately $25,000 to the kids back in India for education.

The event included live music playing with color powder and food provided to participants. Ponugoti said they had been preparing this festival since last year,” we started this event in fall 2022. We had to get all of their requests, and we had to get all of the colors ready. We had to make sure there was food. “ She said it was a huge process, but their 20 members-team finally put this event together.

Many attendees participated in this festival on Saturday afternoon. One of the participants and the ex-member of Asha UIUC, Vaani Chimnani, said Holi usually is celebrated in March when there is a transformation from fall to spring in India. It is hard to celebrate in Illinois in the same period because the weather is still freezing. Still, the time does not affect her happiness in celebrating Holi.

Participants in Holi UIUC festival.

“It’s very nice because for, like Indians, Holi is something that we celebrate every single year. Asha UIUC gives us a sense of home and the community we miss at home. You know there’s a lot of Indian people around.” Said Chimnani.

She said it is a place to meet all of her Indian friends as every Indian is going to be on Holi and excited for this festival, “it’s more than a religion. I think it’s about the community. We just should enjoy spending the time with a lot of our friends and family, playing with colors and being free about it.”

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