Rang De Basanti draws high energy crowd for annual Holi celebration
Jessica Klymchuk, News Editor Ω
On the tail end of International Days came one of the highest energy events known to TRU. It’s also the most colourful.
It’s blue, pink, yellow, white and orange. It’s in your eyes, hair, mouth and all through your clothes. And even though you can’t see through the coloured dust, you’ll still hear the laughter and the greetings. “Happy Holi!”
The TRUSU India Club hosts Rang De Basanti, “colours of spring,” each year in lieu of ancient spring festivals of India: Holi, Vaisakhi and Ram Navami. Its flagship event is becoming a campus favourite with upwards of 200 people attending.
Festivalgoers spent a high-energy afternoon playing with colours in the TRU gym, smearing the vibrant talcum powder on each other, dancing enthusiastically to Vancouver’s DJ Aftershock and enjoying some Indian cuisine. At TRU, the festival is much less a religious celebration and more a time of joy, friendship and love. This is the fifth year the TRUSU India club has hosted Rang De Basanti, with both the campus and community involvement growing every year.
“The pictures signify more than the words we can use to describe this event,” said TRUSU India Club president Divyaraj Singh Sisodia.
The central celebration is Holi, known as the festival of colours and falling on March 17 this year. The ancient religious and mythological origins have many different traditions, now spreading to many parts of the globe. The famous colour play has people throwing and smearing coloured powder and watercolours on each other while dancing, singing and hugging. Variations of the festival have reached England, South Africa, Belgium, North America and more.
“In India, it has various different significance,” Sisodia said.
The mythological tradition celebrates the triumph of good over evil. More practically, it signifies the changing of seasons, a time of particular significance in the agriculture-dominant country of India. Sisodia said the festival commemorates a new harvest and fresh crops, while the colour play itself has is rich in social and moral relevance.
“With the colours, it basically signifies that when everyone is coloured we are all the same, so there is no difference between rich and poor,” Sisodia said.
For the students who are from India, it’s a reminder of home.
“It’s just a way of commemorating the same day together when you’re far away from your home country because you miss your friends or your family,” Suhita Banerjee said. “The basic purpose of celebrating Holi is to focus on the joys and prosperity that life has given you.”
Sisodia said this event works well with other club and ISAP events because it’s cultural while also being very fun and interactive. He agreed that introducing Holi to campus is a cultural experience for domestic students, not unlike the ones that international students experience while studying in Canada.
“We have Christmas and we have Halloween and that is an experience for international students to come and get involved more,” he said, “but these events that we do are basically a different experience for the domestic students who can have a look and enjoy and feel how it is.”
Sheena Erhardt and Lucas Lara went over from TRU residence after hearing from other students who were planning to attend. Both had never experienced Holi before.
“It’s just been such a great experience to see everybody together all the cultures and the East Indian culture. It’s just so amazing. They’re just so happy to be here and they’re happy to have us with them,” Lara said. “It’s so awesome, a great experience.”
Erhardt recently moved to Kamloops from Ontario and has only been at TRU one week. She said she wanted to immerse herself in campus life, starting with the India Club event.
“It’s just amazing how inviting they are and how the whole event is and the nature behind it is great too,” she said. “I’ve heard of [Holi] but I’ve never participated so this is amazing.”
The India club has gained both campus and community support for this event, with sponsorship from TRUSU, CUEF, TRU World, CIBC, Kami Cabs, City Furniture and Elite Overseas Services.