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A Colourful Start

Out of all the ways to start a new school year, kicking things off by celebrating Rang Barse has got to be one of the best ones.

Rang Barse, also known as the “Colour Festival,” is one of the largest festivals celebrated in Southeast Asia, usually in the spring. Essentially, it consists of throwing colour dye at friends, family, and consenting strangers.

The event was organised by Reema Punni, president of INDISA-Dalhousie (the Indian Students’ Society); Lina Maged, Vice President Events of the Dalhousie International Students Assocation and Nikunj Kachhadiya, Nikunj Kachhadiya, president of the Gujarati Students Association.

Kachhadiya describes the motto of the festival as, “To spread love and joy.”

Taking place over five hours on Sept. 12, the festival also included music, a tug of war event and a water balloon fight.

(Photo by Patrick Fulgencio)
(Photo by Patrick Fulgencio)

Through the festival, Kachhadiya and the other groups behind this event – like the Dalhousie Gujarati Students Association – are hoping to welcome and include international students, whether they are coming to Dal for the first time or have already been here for a while.

“The main reason we’re doing this festival is so that we can make people from different cultures to come on the same platform and know each other,” says Kachhadiya.

“We wanted to appeal to the international students, to build a platform and to break the walls between the student communities.”

“We were aware that what [international] students were missing here, and we wanted to show them that we are all here and we celebrate all [types of] festivals, and to introduce them to the community of domestic students,” he says.

Kachhadiya and the rest of the organizational team started planning the event back in June, but the process was delayed and they decided to host the festival in September.

The summer of planning paid off as the festival drew in a crowd of over 200 people including photographers from Truro and PEI, making the event much larger than a previous, similar event held in Truro.

The response to the festival was surprising, but exciting.

“We got a huge response from the community people and student this year,” says Kachhadiya.

“At some point we could have advertised it more, because lot of people were not aware of this festival. So we will focus on advertisement next year.”


Despite the weekend’s bleak weather, the festival was still a great success. Kachhadiya and his team weren’t even worried about the rain.

“Even [if] it had rained we could have managed it well,” he says. “And actually, it is more fun to play with the colour when it’s raining.”

The dye used at the festival is a powder mix using organic colouring – for example, the yellow power contains marigolds. It shows up best on white clothing, and is relatively easy to remove.

“The colour smash round was the best in the entire event. We were doing it every 15-20 minutes and everybody was throwing colour in the air and it was so much fun to see,” adds Kachhadiya.

Kachhadiya is ambitious for next year’s Rang Barse, thinking of hosting it in the Commons.

He would like to thank all the volunteers, friends, society members, DJs, hosts, photographers, and media representatives for their contributions to making this Halifax Colour Festival a great one.

UPDATE, 9/21/2015: A previous version of this story said Nikunj Kachhadiya was president of INDISA-Dalhousie and “vice president” of the Dalhousie International Students Association. He is actually the president of the Dalhousie Gujarati Students Association and Public Relations Officer for INDISA-Dalhousie. The president of INDISA-Dalhousie is Reema Punni. We apologize for the error.

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