Following the success of last year’s Cyprus Colour Festival, the organisers are bringing the event back to Ayia Napa Stadium for summer 2016. The Cyprus Weekly spoke to Agni Papageorgiou, founder of Colour Festival Cyprus’ to find out more.
CW: What exactly is a ‘colour festival’, and who is organising it?
AP: Colour festivals originally started as Hindu religious celebrations – mostly in India and Nepal – called Holi Festivals. Thousands of people would come together to welcome the spring season, which brought flowers and nature back to life – hence the origins of the term ‘Colour Festival’ – from the vibrant colours of nature. The Hindu people made their own colour powder at home using food colouring and flour, and during the Holi Festival, they threw the powder in the air, making the sky look like a reflection of the colours of the earth.
With colour festivals seeing such a great response in India, they started to travel the world, and are considered one of the biggest events globally today! The Colour Festival of Cyprus was an initiative of my own, and in cooperation with my father, we made it all happen last summer.
Thanks to the success of the first one, we are making it happen again this year.
CW: How was the first event last year received?
AP: Our event last year – which was organised for the first time in Cyprus – was a huge success. People had an amazing time and the feedback we received was positive, with everyone stating that the festival was one of the most fun events they had ever attended. This is something reflected from all the pictures posted all over the different social media platforms.
What amazed us as organisers was the way that all the participants from different age groups came together and enjoyed themselves, ranging from families with children to teenagers and adults. The biggest excitement was watching a two-year old girl from Paphos eagerly waiting to get her next colour bag! The combination of the Colour Festival and the location being in a wonderful country like Cyprus, were the main ingredients of our great success.
CW: Can you tell us about the paints used; are they specially created for such events?
AP: The colour powder is environmentally, child and skin friendly. It does not trigger any allergies of any kind and does not contain any toxic ingredients. From personal experience, I can confirm that the powders wash out of clothing and hair easily.
All the data and health documents regarding the powder can be provided upon request.
CW: Are there any ‘rules’ of conduct when using the paints/attending the event?
AP: There are no specific rules when using the colour powder during the festival as if it accidently gets into the eyes or mouth it can easily be washed out and is completely harmless.
However, we do have a very strict rule of an all-white dress code!
CW: This year the festival is supporting the Karaiskakio Foundation – how did this come about, and what support are you giving the foundation?
This year, Karaiskakio Foundation contacted us through our website asking for our support. Our positive response was immediate and we arranged for them to be represented with a stand inside the stadium where volunteers can collect specimens of saliva samples from the attendees to become potential, future bone marrow donors.
Part of the proceeds will also be donated towards this very helpful foundation.
We were more than happy to be able to contribute to the battle the foundation wages on a daily basis for people with leukaemia.
The Cyprus Colour Festival takes place on July 2, 7pm at Ayia Napa Stadium. For more information visit: www.colourfestcy.com / Facebook page: Colour Festival Cyprus 2016.