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Called the “World’s Happiest Transformational Festival,” the Holi Festival of Colors in Spanish Fork is quickly becoming one of Utah Valley’s most popular cultural events.
Holi announces the arrival of spring and the passing of winter. The Hindu festival, also known as the festival of sharing love, breathes an atmosphere of social merriment. Young and old throw their worries to the wind by spraying colored powders in the air.
The event, set for March 25th and 26th, is held annually at the Sri Sri Radha Kristna Temple, 311 W. 8500 South in Spanish Fork, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5.25 per person and children under 12 are free.
“Holi is an important festival of the Hindus,” writes Dinesh Saraf in her essay Holi Festival. “It is a festival of joy. It gives us the message of friendship and goodwill. On this occasion we forget our old quarrels and mix with all freely. At least for one day we forget social distinctions completely. There is no difference between the rich and the poor. Holi gives us great joy. It is a happy occasion when we forget our cares and anxieties.”
Last year more than 35,000 people attended the Festival of Colors, and it continues to grow in popularity. People from all over the state attend.
“I went to be a part of something and hopefully learn about another culture,” said Jordan Larsen, who attended while living in Provo. “We went on a day that very much felt like the first day of spring, which is what it celebrates. When the finale came and everyone started dancing and throwing the colors, it was so joyful. I won’t ever forget that.”
According to the Festival of Colors website: “In modern times, Holi has long traditional links with several legends. According to one popular legend, the word Holi is derived from the demoness, Holika. She was the sister of Hiranya Kashipu (the name meaning love of gold and a soft bed), a demon king, who having defeated the gods, proclaimed his supremacy over everyone else in the Universe. Enraged over his son’s ardent devotion to Lord Vishnu, Hiranya Kashipu decides to punish him. He takes the help of his sister, Holika, who is immune to any damage from fire. Holika carries the small boy Prahlad into the fire but a divine intervention destroys her and saves Prahlad from getting burned. Thus Holi is celebrated to mark the burning of the evil Holika. Her effigy is consumed in the fire.”
The Utah celebration will feature interactive dance, live Mantra Bands on the Main Stage and the Lake Stage, DJs, Yoga teachers, crafts, and cuisine. “Color throws” occur every hour on the hour beginning at noon. The hour begins with a 10-second countdown and then the tossing of the colors in the air and on others in the crowd.
Colors can be purchased at the temple in five assorted hues (violet, green, yellow, pink, and orange) in 100g bags at $3 per bag. Most people prefer to purchase four bags of assorted colors pre-packed for $10. The colors are environmentally friendly. Dusk masks and bandanas will also be available for purchase.
For more information visit www.festivalofcolorsusa.com and click on Spanish Fork. Festival of Colors will also be held in Ogden on May 27 at West Stadium Park, and in Salt Lake City on June 10 at the Krishna Temple.