“For one afternoon people cover each other in colored powders, and our differences are erased in one swipe,” says Charu Das, manager of Holi, also known as The Festival of Colors.
Celebrated largely in countries with large Hindu populations such as India, Nepal and Bangladesh, the festival is also held yearly at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork.
Among other significances, the festival is meant to recognize the passing of winter and hail the coming of spring. This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, March 24 beginning at 4 p.m.
There will be musical presentations, the burning of an effigy in a bonfire, and the friendly throwing of colored powder.
“This graphic demonstration leaves everyone looking ridiculous, and in that moment, mistrusts evaporate and there is a tremendous feeling of community.” Charu Das said.
The smaller powder bags can be purchased from the temple for $1 each, and the larger bags of Indian scented powder will be $2 each. To bypass waiting in lines, bags are available for advance sale at the temple beginning March 20 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
“Experiencing color in this medium and setting verges on being transcendental,” says UVU student Matthew Tafoya. “I also enjoy the cultural enlightenment the festival provides to the usually isolated Utah Valley.”
For safety reasons, colored powder from outside the festival is not allowed. Although the powders are dry and non staining, guests are warned against wearing their best clothing.
“It’s a really fun holiday, but expect all of your belongings to get ruined. Choose your clothes accordingly” says UVU student Greg Wilson. “And bring something to protect your camera.”
Those who would prefer not to participate in the coloring process may watch the excitement from within the shelter of the temple.
The spiritual aspect of the festival is achieved not only through a connection with one another, but with the divine. “We are all parts and parcels of God and we achieve a oneness with him through the chanting of his holy names.” Charu Das said.
Utah’s sole Indonesian percussion orchestra will be performing a collection of Balinese music and will be accompanied by gifted dancers. Tickets for their 4 p.m. performance can be purchased at www.byuarts.com , and tickets for their 7 p.m. performance will be sold at the door. All tickets to this concert cost $5, but admission to the festival itself is free.
There will be Indian dance performances by Nalini Karimov from Seattle, Bohhni Dey and students, Shatakshi Goyal with friends from Boise, and Ankith Ray and company from Salt Lake City.
The festival’s schedule can be found at www.utahkrishnas.com along with tips for newcomers and additional information regarding the entertainment and festival background.
The first Spanish Fork exit is likely to be congested with festival traffic, so guests are advised to exit at Benjamin instead. Although the temple offers parking, spaces are limited, so arriving early would secure a nearer parking spot. “We are estimating 15,000 guests this year.” Charu Das said.