Parent-organized Holi celebration makes a colorful return

May 16, 2022 — by Kavya Patel
Sophomore boys gather together for a group picture after celebrating Holi.
After three years, the Holi celebration at Quito Park returned, bringing together many members of the Saratoga community.

April 24 at Quito Park was like a day from pre-COVID-19 times.

Students and parents chased each other, throwing colorful powder from bags they were tightly clutching as part of celebrating the Hindu holiday of Holi. Sophomores played frisbee with their classmates, young kids sprayed water on their friends with a long hose and Bombay in the Bay members performed their dance routines.

The event, called Holi in the Park, returned this year after a 3-year hiatus.

Holi is a Hindu festival celebrating the arrival of spring and took place on March 18 this year — however, the organizers traditionally hold the event a month later. There were around 100 people at the event, both students and their parents.

“As part of this festival, people gather together with friends and family and throw Holi powder at each other,” junior Risha Desai said. 

The different colorful powders people throw at each other symbolize unique meanings: Red symbolizes passion, yellow symbolizes peace, blue (significant for being the color of Krishna’s skin) symbolizes calmness, green symbolizes nature, pink symbolizes youth and orange symbolizes courage. 

The event has been organized by parents Nilesh and Sushma  Thakkar every year, not including 2020 and 2021 due to COVID. The Thakkars continued their previous tradition of hosting Saratoga’s Holi in the Park by continuing to do so this year at Quito park. Many parent volunteers also helped out with the event and planning. 

Another common tradition at the event is to perform dances from Bombay in the Bay — a show hosted annually by the Indian Cultural Awareness Club consisting of a skit and grade-based Bollywood dances — in the center of the park. 

Juniors Annika Muju and Risha Desai, both choreographers for the junior dance, recall their memories from Holi both this year and the last time they went in eighth grade. 

“I was really happy to be there again and it was nice to have a big group since we haven’t been able to hang out in big groups, and the group at Holi was much larger,” Desai said. 

However, upperclassman participation was quite small due scheduling conflicts with AP and finals preparation. But those who were able to go said they had an amazing time reconnecting and celebrating with those there.

The event was also notable for being one of the first large-scale events occurring within the Saratoga community since the pandemic. 

“I had more fun this time this year because as we’ve gotten older, we’ve also gotten older to the people we’ve danced with, and the event is more enjoyable if you have a stronger connection with your peers,” Muju said.

Tags: Holi