“Holi Hai!” These are the words that millions of voices in the streets of India roar with when they welcome the most colourful festival of the year, Holi, with friends, family and strangers alike. Revellers from all sections of the society take the day off to meet and smear each other with a rainbow of coloured powders, share traditional food and dance together.
Apart from merry-making, Holi conveys a myriad of messages that have been associated with the festival over the centuries that it is celebrated. Holi signifies the triumph of good over evil, it symbolizes the arrival of spring, fertility and above all, love. Love that surpasses boundaries, continents and cultures, now that Holi is celebrated in almost every major city of the world. From Paris to London to Los Angeles, Holi is the face of Indian culture to the global community.
NUI Galway’s India Society celebrates Holi every year as one of its most anticipated events and takes great pleasure in welcoming a large number of international students of the campus. The event took place on the green opposite NUIG Kingfisher Gym on March 8 and was very much an international event like every year, with yummy treats and beats of Indian music to dance to, while nearly 80 kilos of powdered colours were arranged for use during the event.
In addition to celebrating the Indian cultural event with full traditional flavour, the India Society also took up the opportunity of the Holi 2018 celebrations to contribute towards a social cause. This year, NUI Galway’s India Society collaborated with the Hope foundation, a charity organization in Ireland, for their fundraising activities during the Holi event. For this, entry tickets were kept for the event (in all other years the event had free entry) and all proceeds from the Holi ticket sales were contributed to this charity.
The Hope Foundation, as described on their official website, rescues abused and abandoned children from the streets and slums of the metropolitan city of Bengal and works for building better futures for children and vulnerable families. There are a large number of children in Kolkata who are street dwellers, with no provision for healthy food, water and healthcare. Their lives are uncertain as they hardly receive proper education and there exists high risk of abuse, exploitation and child trafficking. The Hope Foundation works for addressing these social challenges by visiting the slums and streets to bring life-changing services and support to the poorest children. They run 60 projects in Kolkata, 12 of which are protection homes. The goal of this charity organization, with their Headquarters in Cork, is to break the cycle of poverty through the provision of healthcare, crèches, counselling, life skills, training, drugs rehabilitation, access to education and whatever supports are needed.
More information about the India Society and its events can be found at NUI Galway’s official societies website. Visit hopefoundation.ie for more information about Hope and the charitable work they do.
By Anuradha Kar
Photo credit: Harsha Sabarad and Riyazul Aboobucker