Brooklyn Tech Celebrates Holi for First Time: South Asian Representation at Tech


On Wednesday, March 15th, the BTHS Hindu Students Council (HSC) hosted Brooklyn Tech’s very first Holi event in the school cafeteria. Over 150 students from a diverse range of backgrounds took part in the festivities in a positive step for Hindu representation and cultural celebration at Tech.

Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, is a Hindu observance that celebrates life, the God Krishna, and the coming of spring. Each year, Hindu communities around the world celebrate by embracing their loved ones at organized parties and sometimes in the streets. Observers of all ages dress up in white and throw colored powder, known as gulaal, at each other while enjoying festive traditional music, dance, and activities.


This year’s event emerged from an initiative proposed by the HSC executive board to expand inclusivity for Brooklyn Tech students that practice Dharmic religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism. “Although Brooklyn Tech is one of the most diverse and culturally inclusive schools out there, we were sad to see how there was little representation for the Hindu and South Asian community,” said Ritika Deb (’25), president of HSC. “In planning this event, we wanted to create a fun and memorable experience for all Brooklyn Tech students so that they can learn about and recognize the beautiful aspects of our culture.”

The Holi event started with booths for henna, a cultural body art often used to temporarily decorate hands, and an assortment of cultural foods. Attendees were also able to enjoy traditional samosas, savory potato, and vegetable pastries, as well as mango lassis, which are creamy and refreshing beverages commonly consumed on Holi. The National Hindu Students Council, the largest organization for Hindu youth in North America, funded the catering.

Various students performed during the event, including Indian folk, semi-classical, and bhangra dancers, as well as guitarists and a singer. Afterward, attendees participated in the main event, throwing colored powders at each other while dancing to upbeat South Asian music.

The event was later featured in the Weekly Janmobhumi, a New York City Bangla newspaper, in an article that commended the BTHS Hindu Students Council for planning a successful Holi event for Brooklyn Tech students.

In New York City, many Hindu students find it difficult to celebrate Holi’s festivities, especially if they don’t live in South Asian communities. Many members of the HSC had not celebrated Holi traditionally with their friends prior to this event, which made it even more significant for them.

“Unfortunately I haven’t celebrated Holi before this event. I’ve always wanted to celebrate it with my family in India since they always send me pictures but with school and everything I can’t. However, this event did feel like an authentic Holi event you would find on the streets of India,” said Sanavi Kulkarni, a junior in the Biological Sciences major. “It was also nice to see how different people were enjoying the event, not only South Asians. It made me really proud to be a Hindu. I think it goes to show that Holi stems beyond religion and is more of a cultural thing, that’s why you don’t have to be religious to enjoy it.”

The event was open to people from all cultures to come together and enjoy Holi’s festivities. Julie Zhuang, a junior in the Law and Society major, explained, “It was an opportunity to get together and celebrate a culture that I am not the most familiar with, but also to promote unity,” explained Julie Zhuang, a junior in the Law and Society major.…”It’s a pretty cool event, especially if you’re not from the culture, –you can experience parts of it and learn.”

After exhaustive planning, the executive board and members of HSC were enthusiastic about the event’s success. “We had a lot of people involved in the planning including Yugi, our mentor, the club members, and the execs,” said Shubhechchha Khadka (’25), the Secretary of HSC. “We had been planning this event for over two months, but we had trouble finalizing a venue which is why we were a bit unprepared. We just wanted to create an event where people would experience and enjoy Holi and Hinduism.”

Sydney Deb (’25), the Events Coordinator of HSC, said, “Words can’t describe how it felt to see so many people looking forward to and enjoying our event. I loved seeing everyone post about it and our team of volunteers from the club.”

“Throughout the whole event, I saw so much celebration and just sheer joy,” noted Mrs. Shubhra Breivogel, the advisor for HSC. “It really seemed like all the students, not just the Hindu Student Council, were actively participating and enjoying themselves.”

HSC has made efforts throughout the year to help represent the Dharmic community, especially Hindus, within Tech. In October, they partnered with the SGO to host a Diwali booth in the cafeteria where students could learn about the significance of the holiday. During their meetings, which are open to the entire student body, the council members hold conversations about Hinduism, host movie nights, and play board games common in South Asian countries, such as Ludo.

Principal David Newman, who attended the event after supporting HSC throughout the planning process, hopes that this event leads to others at Tech. “We have to do more around celebrating all sorts of different cultures in general around the school…There are some cultures that seem to get more exposure around the school and some not as much.”

Ritika Deb added, “My hopes for the future are that our club can continue to bring such wonderful school-wide experiences as we head towards the end and beginning of a new school year.”