Acting Vice-Chancellor and President, Dr Giulio Paunga at the Holi celebrations
Celebration of Holi, the festival of colours has been a long tradition at the University of the South Pacific.
The USP Indian Student Association (ISA), in partnership with ISKCON-USP (a registered spiritual group within the University) celebrated the festival with the University community, particularly the students, in grandeur.
Cultural performances including dances, Faag (traditional Holi song) and beating of the drums by a group of highly talented students were part of the event.
The ISKCON performers ensured spiritual ambience prevailed to some degree with their songs in glorification of God.
Acting Vice-Chancellor and President, Dr Giulio Paunga and Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Jito Vanualailai were present at the celebrations.
Dr Paunga, in his address, said such festivals and events were a great way to bring the USP community together and to provide visitors with a taste of what the University of the South Pacific had to offer. He added that such spiritual and cultural festivals fostered the holistic education of students.
Professor Vanualailai also thanked the organisers and said the celebration helped create greater awareness of the University’s varied rich cultures and traditions.
The Acting Deputy Vice Chancellor requested the Student Associations to work closely with the Office of the Chaplain to ensure that major festivals such as Holi, Easter, Eid, Diwali and Christmas were joyfully celebrated and in a spiritual manner for the wellbeing of all.
Rohit Deo, Quality Officer Accreditations, represented the Office of the Chaplain during the celebrations. Quoting a statement from the Student Charter that, “Our belief in God is paramount and we give glory to the Almighty,” he said practical emphasis could be given by keeping God in the center of all our activities and performing all activities for His pleasure. Mr Deo said according to the Vedas, a human being is meant to realise his true identity as an eternal servant of God and that the Vedic understanding begins with the knowledge that we are not our temporary material bodies but the eternal spiritual souls within our bodies.
He concluded by saying that the soul’s eternal function of service is a reality that shines forth whether we see ourselves as a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jew or as any other designation, and that religious traditions are meant to awaken us to the one true religion which is Selfless Loving Service to God.
All guests at the celebrations shared sanctified vegetarian food.
Despite rain during the celebrations, the spirit of the students, staff and visitors remained high as they played with colors and danced to the cultural drum beats.
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