The first downtown HOLI festival brings celebration to Kamloops

The people of Kamloops came together to celebrate the Hindu holiday at Riverside Park

This year’s HOLI Festival of Colour brought the Kamloops community to Riverside Park for music, fun, food and dancing. (Chandan Singh/Flickr)

On Saturday, March 23, the Kamloops community came down to Riverside Park to celebrate the HOLI Festival of Colour. This is the first time this event has been put on by Downtown Kamloops, the HOLI Committee and the TRUSU India Club. 

The TRUSU India Club has held a Holi festival at TRU before, under a different name a couple of years ago, but has now teamed with Downtown Kamloops and the HOLI Committee. Both the Kamloops HOLI Committee and the TRUSU India Club were planning their own Holi events separately, so they chose to work together to plan a bigger and better event for the people of Kamloops. Although Downtown Kamloops and the HOLI Committee helped finance and plan the event, and the TRUSU India Club helped promote it.

Before, when the event was put on at TRU, it was targeted towards students and those of Indian descent, but now with the event downtown, the promotion has furthered to targeting everyone in Kamloops. Deepinder Singh, the president of the TRUSU India Club, has said that the promotion of the event had reached more than 27,000 people in the area, with about 300-500 people saying they were coming via a Facebook event page.

Hundreds of people came out to partake in the colourful event. People had a great time playing with colours and having fun in the sun with music, dance and good food, as well the non-toxic colours created a comfortable environment for everyone. Kunwar Rajdeep, Vice-President of the TRUSU India Club and newly elected TRUSU Entertainment Committee Representative, said that this event was “a stress-buster” for students as it was put on before exams at a time when students still had time to hang out and relax before the end of the semester crunch. 

The reason for the event was to celebrate Holi, a Hindu festival in India that takes place at the beginning of Spring. This religious celebration is based on Indian mythology. Rajdeep said that the story represents beliefs in Indian culture and that there are many mythologies in this culture to help those that believe live positive lives.

The TRUSU India Club was created in 2009 with hopes to put on events and help Indian students have a community to be apart of when coming to TRU. In the future, the TRUSU India Club hopes to put on more events like this for the students and the Kamloops community. Singh said that the original TRUSU India Club president’s vision was “to create an environment for the students that were coming from India so they don’t feel alienated.” Singh went on to say that India has festivals every month. 

“Because India is so diverse, every community has their own local festivals. So if you don’t have a nationwide celebration, you might have a local celebration,” he said. 

Singh added that in its entirety, the point of the India club is “to bring all the Indian community together so they don’t feel left out.”  

Vice-president Rajdeep hopes that “[The HOLI festival] could make a bridge between the community people and the students as they go hand-in-hand [together].”