A Vibrant Day Out for the Whole Family: The Halifax Colour Festival

My 9-year old daughter and I were advised to wear white, but by the end of an afternoon of dancing and dousing at the Halifax Colour Festival, there wasn’t a white patch to be seen!  Our  skin, clothes and hair were temporarily dyed blue, yellow, orange and red – only the whites of our eyes and our grinning teeth shining through.Halifax Colour Festival photo by Helen EarleyThe exhilaration of dancing while being doused from head to toe in coloured powder is unbeatable. Add a cheerful community of students and young families, plus some activities and games, and you’ve got a  great event for your September calendar.

Halifax Colour Festival photo by Helen Earley
The Halifax Colour Festival is organised by Dalhousie Gujarati Student Association (DAL GSA) in partnership with Indian Festivals Club of Nova Scotia (IFCNS). One of Halifax’s newest and most exciting cultural festivals, it turns four years old in 2018. The festival is run by dedicated volunteers, many of them current or former Dal and SMU students.
Halifax Colour festival volunteers by Helen Earley

The Halifax Colour Festival is organized by a team of dedicated volunteers/photo: Helen Earley

The history of the festival is best described by the description on the IFNS website:
“Indian Festivals Club Of Nova Scotia” was founded in 2013 by Group of enthusiastic Friends who wanted to celebrate the events that can break the bridges between cultures. We Started by celebrating the Navratri Festival, One of the most famous festival in West India, and then added Diwali right after that. After succession of these two festivals we started celebrating Colour Festival from 2015…and that became the one of the most beautiful events in year.”
Halifax Colour Festival Dalhousie Studley Quad photo by Helen Earley

The 2017 Colour Festival at Studley Quad, Dalhousie University, Halifax

The Colour Festival therefore, celebrates many cultures and many things, including the welcoming of new and returning students to Halifax for the fresh academic year.
Halifax Colour Festival Saudi students at SMU photo by Helen Earley

Manar Al Hiji and Rasha Hamad, students at Saint Mary’s University, enjoy the 2017 Colour Festival/Photo: Helen Earley

Although many of the attendees are Dalhousie students, there are plenty of others including students from other universities, and plenty of families with young children.
Halifax Colour Festival photo by Helen Earley

Kilah Rolle and children, Zere and Sanea get colourful at the Halifax Colour Festival/Photo: Helen Earley

We even met one festival-goer who was only 9 months old!
Halifax Colour Festival photo by Helen Earley

Ben Bschaden and Anita Bianchini bring 9-month old Annie to her first Halifax Colour Festival/Photo: Helen Earley

Having booked and ordered our festival package online, we arrived and headed straight for the registration desk where we grabbed sunglasses, festival-t-shirts and most importantly, those exciting bags of coloured powder.
Halifax Colour Festival photo by Helen EarleyThe opportunity to throw the coloured powder happens every 30 minutes, during a “colour smash”.

Halifax Colour Festival photo by Helen EarleyThere’s no need to check your watch. At the appointed time, the DJ will call everyone to a central spot and count down. Then – just throw, dance – and be doused! It’s even OK, within reason, to rub powder into your friends’ hair and clothes.

Halifax Colour Festival photo by Helen Earley

Manufactured in India, the powder claims to be completely non-toxic, non-irritating, smooth, free of heavy metals and biodegradable. The ingredients listed on the package are cornstarch, colour and fragrance. We had no adverse reactions to the powder at all, although one of the bags did smell a bit musty.

Halifax Colour Festival photo by Helen Earley

The powder goes quickly, but there is additional powder available for sale. My daughter became pretty enthusiastic about ripping open the packets. One or two throws, and it’s gone! If you’re on a tight budget, consider prepping your kids by telling them that it’s not an unending supply (when we visited, extra packets were $5.00 each, or 5 for $10.00)

Halifax colour festival photo by HElen EArely

Matty Belefontaine, an Engineering Student at Dalhousie, brings son, Jaxon to enjoy the Halifax Colour Festival/Photo: Helen Earley

There are other activities too, including field games such as tug of war. When we attended, there was a fun kiosk sponsored by Halifax Water, where we won a towel in exchange for answering a quiz. The main sponsor of The Halifax Colour Festival is RBC.

Halifax Colour Festival photo by Helen Earley

Is the festival safe? We thought so! Is it suitable for families of all ages? Absolutely, so go, and get colourful! It’s an experience that your kids are unlikely to forget.

The Halifax Colour Festival promises to be a great day out, especially if the weather is good.

For details on the 2019 event, click here.

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