In the communities, along with emotions, music, dance etc., colors are also missing from the community. Jonas and The Giver are the only citizens known to see colors. Jonas only began to see colors when the Giver gave him his first memories. The Elders saw colors as being dangerous because they kept people from sameness.

Color is first mentioned in the third chapter and plays a huge part in Jonas being the Receiver. At first, Jonas only experiences a flicker of color, only affecting one part of his view. For example, the apple in Chapter 3, the crowd’s faces in Chapter 8 and Fiona’s hair in Chapter 12.
In Chapter 12 he realizes that the flickers of color are obviously occurring more often than before. He decides to ask the Giver about it, and the Giver confirms it as the quality that the Chief Elder couldn’t describe earlier: Seeing Beyond. 
Jonas effortlessly remembers the sled and follows the Giver’s command too look down at it. Jonasis amazed to find that the same thing that happened to Fiona’s hair is happening to the sled. Only this time, the mysterious quality is not going away. It is staying this way.
The same thing happened with a row of books the Giver then points at: the change occured. But it was fleeting; gone the next instant. The Giver explained this as “color”, which, to Jonas, is a completely new word with no meaning.

The Giver then explains the term farther: everything has color, and what Jonas is currently experiencing is the color red. There are more than one color, the Giver says, and you will be able to experience them all once you receive all fo the memories.

Over the course of the next few weeks, Jonas learn the names of all the colors and how they looked like. He could experience them in his everyday life, albeit very quickly. 

The Giver said it would be long before Jonas could see color permanently.

Film Adaptation

In the movie the absence of colors is shown by the movie starting out as black and white, the slowly each colour appears as Jonas discovers them.

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