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Friends squirt each other with water while playing Holi at Cameron University.Silika Shakya, left, and Sweta Shrestha paint each other’s faces with colors while playing Holi at Cameron University.

Festival of colors will be held at Cameron

The Cameron University Nepalese Association invites everyone to celebrate the festival of colors, Holi, today starting at 2 p.m. at Shepler Lawn at the university, 2800 W. Gore.

Holi is a Hindu festival that marks the beginning of spring and also celebrates the victory of good over evil. One of the legends of Holi tells the story of demon king, Hiranyakasyap, and his son, Prahlad. Hiranyakasyap, after winning over the kingdom of earth, was blinded by his power. He commanded everyone to worship him and believed that he was god. But his son, Prahlad, was a devotee of Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the universe among the Hindu Trinity. 

The king tried several times in vain to get his son to worship him instead of Lord Vishnu. After failing to do so, he thought the only solution was to kill his own son. However, he did not succeed in multiple attempts. He then consulted with his sister, Holika, who had a boon from the god of fire, Agni, that fire blaze will not harm her body. The king asked his sister to sit on a blazing fire with Prahlad on her lap. Holika sat on fire with Prahlad as planned. The fire, however, burned Holika to ashes but Prahlad, who had been chanting the name of Lord Vishnu, was left untouched by the blaze. Holika paid the price for her sinister desire; she was not aware that the boon only worked when she entered the fire alone. Holi, therefore, derives its name from Holika and celebrates the victory of good over evil.

Holi is mainly celebrated in Nepal and India and usually falls on the month of Falgun (February/March) in the lunar calendar based on ancient Hindu tradition. International students from Nepal celebrate the festival at Cameron and invite the community to be a part of the celebration. 

Sarah Stroud, adviser for the association, said there are about 65 students from Nepal at Cameron and the organization has been hosting Holi on campus for about six years.

"We are going to have colors, paints, water balloons, food and games," Stroud said. "It is fun to go around throwing colors to each other. It is a fun celebration for everyone of all ages." 

For Ashok Adhikari, freshman and international student from Nepal, this is the first time he will be celebrating Holi away from home.

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