Sunday, March 30, 2014

Check out the Festival of Color in Spanish Fork, Utah today

Good Day World!

Every year in the early spring, the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah (approximately 50 miles south of Salt Lake City), hosts one of the largest Festival of Colors events in the Western Hemisphere.

On each of the two days of the festival, scheduled “throwings” of colored powder occur throughout the day. These throwings are preceded by countdowns led by an announcer over a microphone.

Throughout the festival, musicians play traditional music that features the names of God, and they lead the crowd in mantras.

Participants mingle in the crowd in front of a stage where people dance, crowd surf, form conga lines, and generally have fun. Click here for information on the festival today, or, plan ahead for next year.

Here’s a link to this year’s festival – a Photo Gallery – from the Salt Lake Tribune.

Those who aren’t interested in the crowd can eat authentic Indian food, visit the temple’s llamas, shop among a variety of vendors, or explore the outside of the temple. The temple’s interior is closed during the Festival of Colors to preserve its cleanliness.

Between scheduled throwings, it is entirely commonplace for participants to throw, smear, or sprinkle the colored powder on each other.

This colorful festival in Spanish Fork is based on the Hindu religious holiday Holi (pronounced the same as holy). The celebration of Holi began in northern India but has since spread to southern India, other South Asian countries, and even the rest of the world. Because Holi is celebrated as a two-day event in Spanish Fork, the experience is very different from what one would experience in India, where Holi is celebrated as a holiday that can span several days.

Dr. Charles Nuckolls, a professor of anthropology at Brigham Young University, explains one of the biggest differences: “In India, Holi is not a crowd process. There can be crowds, but that’s not really how it works. You don’t stand in place and wait for the powder to descend upon you. You could be walking anywhere and somebody pops out and throws color on you.” (Via Stowaway)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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