Every year around this time, everyone with roots in Utah will notice that his or her Facebook page is full of photos of people covered in colored dust and having a great time.
Though crowds, noise, and dancing aren’t usually my thing, this year I decided to go to the Festival of Colors, a Hindu festival celebrated
in the spring. Here we are at the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah:
I went with some friends who are seasoned festival attendees. That was the first time I’d actually been to that temple, and it was beautiful, especially speckled with bright colors. The temple was surrounded with peacocks and lamas and these little yak-like things called zebos. As soon as I stepped in the gates, somebody pelted me with bright yellow cornstarch. I bought three bags of neon-bright powder in hot pink, green, and a very vibrant purple. People showered us with their colors at us and we returned the favor. I got very colorful very quickly.
I loved going on top of the temple and watching the crowd from above. Several Kirtan bands performed and the whole crowd rippled and pulsed while bright clouds rose up. I love Kirtan, but I’d never heard it live. Granted, this was spruced up a little-much more danceable than traditional Kirtan.
I’ve never been comfortable dancing in public, or at all, but I did my signature “can’t dance” dance and had a great time. People walked by and hugged me or sprinkled color over my hair. Everyone was friends with everyone.
The highlight of the festival is the “throwing”, when the entire crowd throws their colors into the air at once, which creates this beautiful, massive rainbow cloud that blocked out the sun for about thirty seconds and smells amazing. I got all kinds of ideas for colorful paintings.
I didn’t see myself until the end, but I looked pretty funny. Somehow my friends managed to stay colorful-as in, you could actually see the different colors- while I was so colorful that I’d turned completely brown! I was smiling the whole time, so the color settled into the creases and contours of my face, so I came out looking like an old lady who’d rolled in the mud.
I’m sure I’ll be cleaning purple cornstarch out of my ears for weeks, but I haven’t had so much fun in a long time. I’m going every year. If you live anywhere near Utah and can make it to the festival, I highly urge you to go. I can’t think of a more beautiful way to welcome spring.
Taking pictures was kind of hard, but I managed to glean a few decent ones from the dozens of lousy ones I got. My camera cord is permanently pink now.
For a much better idea of the festival, go to the Krishna Temple site and watch the video here.
The thing I loved most about the festival was the joy. I could feel it in the air; it was a very happy place. I didn’t see any grumpy people. All kinds of people were there, from babies to the elderly. A little girl asked me for a hug so she could get color all over me. I didn’t even mind getting smashed into people during the throwing, because everyone felt like my friend. I don’t recall ever feeling like that toward strangers, but I think that’s what will keep my going back every year.
That and the colors. Oh, the colors.