If you’ve started to notice clouds of color every spring, it’s not your imagination. The Hindu festival of Holi (pronounced “holy”), which involves throwing brightly colored powders, is spreading around the globe, says Ravi M. Gupta, a religion professor at Utah State University. “It’s well known now. I don’t need to tell my students what Holi is. It has spawned this whole industry of colorfests and charity color runs.” The religious holiday marks the return of spring, and he says everyone is welcome to join in the “playing of colors.” While the holiday starts on March 12 this year, festival dates may vary. Gupta shares some favorite Holi celebrations with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.
Surprisingly, this Provo-area festival is the main reason Holi is celebrated across the country. Started in 1989, it now attracts close to 70,000 participants — many of them students from nearby Brigham Young University. “This festival has really been the catalyst,” says Gupta. It’s based at a local Hare Krishna temple, which now sponsors similar fetes in other cities. “It really has become a part of Utah culture. It’s good clean fun.” Held March 25-26. utahkrishnas.org
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