Photos by Kim Anderson
“There is no religion or face behind the colour. It is all equal when you are full of colour, that is the best part. There is no discrimination,” explained Chirag Sehgal, president of the TRUSU India Club.
TRUSU India Club, TRU, countless volunteers and community members worked together in organizing RDB6, or Rang De Basanti 6, TRU’s sixth celebration of Holi.
Holi, the festival of spring, is a celebration of love that could not have arrived at a better time for weary students. As the semester wraps up, many are running on the fumes of what used to be motivation. A festival celebrating unity and happiness was the perfect way to shake things up.
“They’re showing interest. Students really enjoy it. It’s before final exams, so it’s kind of relaxing. You go and play, get tired, have fun,” Sehgal said.
A crowd of students gathered on the grass in front of Old Main and tossed handfuls of coloured powder at each other to the pulsating sounds of a live DJ. Some taught traditional dances, while others raced around tossing the vibrant powder on anyone who looked too clean.
The energy of the event was contagious. Pearly smiles marked the faces of the many participants. In between grabbing fresh bags of colour from members of the TRUSU India Club, students darted around, dancing, hugging and wishing each other a happy Holi.
Seasoned Holi professionals and newcomers alike took part in the lighthearted celebrations with unbridled enthusiasm.
TRU students and RDB6 first-timers Sam Matt, Chynna Tobias and Laura Howard all heard of the event on Facebook. They agreed that social media is the best way to reach students and spread awareness about on-campus events.
The trio didn’t know what to expect, but by the end were covered head-to-toe in a rainbow of colours.
Authentic Indian food provided a break in the festivities. After eating, the participants jumped right back into the celebrations.
Trang Nguyen, another Holi first-timer had nothing but praise for the event.
“It was my first time joining in on this type of event. Holi was really awesome. Friends and families could spend time with each other, learn about Indian culture and try delicious food. It is the festival of colours and happiness,” Nguyen said.
Despite being a newbie to the colour play, Nguyen and her friends jumped right in and were, like everyone else, coated in colour.
“I thought it would take more than an hour to clean. It was pretty quick actually, around 40 minutes to clean all the colour out,” Nguyen said.
After the crowd dispersed, the DJ packed up and the event drew to a close, the only evidence of the party was a brilliant mosaic of powder that covered every sidewalk square and blade of grass in front of Old Main.
“The main significance of this festival is victory over evil,” Sehgal said.
Indeed, Holi brought victory over end of semester fatigue. Students took a few hours to forget about exam stress and to enjoy a celebration of unity and happiness.
When distinguishing items like clothing, hair and skin colour are hidden beneath layers upon layers of colour, everyone is equal. Inhibition, fear or uncertainty is literally thrown to the wind, along with handfuls of vibrant greens, reds and blues.
Rang De Basanti 6 reminded this arts editor of our shared humanity, diversity and above all else, love.