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Holi Festival is celebrated with the showering of colourful paints

Hundreds of students and staff at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have celebrated the start of spring with a splash of colour.

More than 150 people marked Holi Festival by transforming a city park into a sea of pink, green and yellow.

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They threw and smeared brightly coloured powder paints over one another at Bede Park, while raising money for a good cause at the same time.

Holi is a traditional Indian festival focusing on the welcoming of spring, and celebrating how good conquers evil.

The DMU Indian Society officially declared the festival open at 4pm on Friday with welcome speeches and the pulling of huge party poppers to the sounds of a DJ.

Those in attendance received the first packet of colour for free, then purchased additional packets to raise money for DMU’s Square Mile India, which was set up to support families in some of the poorest regions. Funds will be used to buy essentials such as school equipment and access to medicine.

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Krishna Nama Manjunatha, an Early Career Academic Fellow in DMU’s Faculty of Technology, said he was “very happy and really proud” to see how much the festival had grown over the years.

He founded the Indian Society and launched DMU’s Holi Festival celebrations when he was a student in 2012.

Krishna said: “I’m very happy that the event just keeps getting bigger and better each year. The Festival has gone from strength to strength over the last six years and I feel very proud that I’ve been involved from the beginning.

“The first year we had just 18 students, now we see hundreds as everyone brings along their friends to join in with the party.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to share our culture with everyone.”

Krishna moved to Leicester from India to study for a Masters then a PhD at DMU and he is now a member of staff.

He added: “I started the Indian Society as I realised there was a need for international students to get together to help and support one another. They have many questions about life in Leicester and we are here to answer them.

“Diwali and Holi are our biggest celebrations of the year and student say it’s great they can celebrate them at DMU as it means they don’t miss home so much.”

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Apeksha Masrani, 23, Indian Society Marketing Officer and MBA Global student, said: “We all come together to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring.

“We are celebrating love and peace and all the colours signify the burning of the devil’s spirit.

“We always have a great turnout and have a lot of fun. Everyone looks forward to this festival and luckily we just use powder paint as everyone gets covered!”

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Ramya Balaji, 22, Indian Society Treasurer and second-year Interior Design student, said: “It’s a great annual event, we all really enjoy ourselves, and it’s a lot of fun.

“It’s a very colourful and messy event, with the colours representing the change of the seasons.”

Ashima Trigunayat, 26, a Fashion Management with Marketing student, said: “I’ve come along with friends to celebrate Holi Festival.

“We are having a lot of fun and we’re already covered in paint. It’s all over our clothes and in our hair!”

Posted on Monday 12th March 2018

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