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By Ian Cheong
Holi, the Hindu spring festival of colours, was celebrated in Oxford on 6th May.
The festival involves throwing coloured powders and perfumes to represent the liveliness of spring’s arrival, and as a disregard of social norms. This year marked the 11th year of OxHoli, although the festival has been celebrated all over India since ancient times.
Chand Mehta, who has organised OxHoli, said: “Holi is essentially about people from all different religions and backgrounds having fun together and using colour to forget about any social differences.”
Shyam Thakerar, President of Oxford University Hindu Society (HUM) said: “The event was a huge success with a vast amount being raised for charity. Everyone had a brilliant afternoon, which is really important in the stressfilled Trinity Term.”
He added: “It was great to see students from all cultures and backgrounds enjoying themselves; with the grey skies we’ve had recently, Oxford could do with a bit of colour!”
Last year 900 people attended OxHoli, making it the largest university-run Hindu event in the country. And this year, with 1,000 people estimated to have attended, this is likely to be the case again.
Additional features at the event included music and a photography competition.
HUM, who last year sold 66kg of colour at the event, stocked even more this year, and the water guns they were selling sold out in twenty minutes.
Alice Chadwick, a second year at Brasenose, said: “It was an amazing afternoon of paint-drenched fun with people from all colleges and friend groups mixing and engaging in paint fights.”
Hilary Saviello, a visiting student from the US at St Catz, agreed, saying: “Running around and getting messy at Ox-Holi with my friends was the perfect distraction from my work!”
Jamie Pickering, a first year PPEist at Worcester, said: “The best moment of OxHoli was when a Worcester theologian ran towards me, throwing paint, and shouted, ‘We definitely chose the wrong religion, this is so much better than Christmas!’”
For Gemma Robson, a first year at St Hugh’s, “the best bit was walking through town afterwards and confusing all the tourists by telling them this was just how Oxford students dressed on exam days…”
£1550 was raised for the Ashiana Charitable Trust and Smile Foundation.
In the print edition of The Oxford Student Volume 62 Issue 4 (Thursday 10th May 2012), the image (the one which also accompanies this online article) is credited to Hum Soc. This is incorrect and the photo should be credited to Michael Brodsky.