Parents spent more than an hour preparing bowls of powdered paints for students.
Parents spent more than an hour preparing bowls of powdered paints for students.
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Like many holidays involving children, the Holi celebration at McGilvra Elementary on Friday took a good deal of time setting up, and much less for colors to start flying.

“Really, it’s a welcoming of spring, and farmers hoping for a good harvest,” said McGilvra parent Bhadra Vora as she helped with the set up on March 16.

Vora’s mother volunteers reading to children in kindergarten teacher Maret Poole’s class, said Sian Wu with the McGilvra PTA. When she told Poole about Holi, the teacher thought it would be fun to do at the school.

“Mrs. Poole was like, ‘Let’s do it,’” WU said.

“It just brings communities together, because it’s a nonreligious holiday,” Vora said.

Holi is an Indian and Nepali spring “festival of colors,” best known for its colorful celebration. Revelers often cover each other and themselves in powder paints of various spring colors at community celebrations in the United States.

Vora grew up in India, and said people at Holi festivals there also have water balloon fights with paints, and use water guns.

“When I was growing up, it was just a school holiday,” she said.

McGilvra principal Maria Breuder said there are only a few students at the school of Indian decent.

“We’re still trying to engage our community, and open our students’ eyes to different cultures and celebrations,” she said.

The school is also planning a fall festival of lights for Diwali, and Vora said the school wants to organize other cultural events that engage Japanese and Portuguese parents and students.

Students filed out of McGilvra near the end of the school day on Friday. Breuder gave them instructions about how to use their powdered paints, and student Diwit Gupta gave his schoolmates a quick history of Holi.

Children made quick use of their bowls of paints, and many stayed after the bell to go back for more.