for ABC News (USA) on April 4, 2009
SPANISH FORK, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Thousands chanting, flowing robes, and an ornate Hare Krishna temple. You might think you were in India or another country from the Far East. Utah Valley probably wouldn’t be the first place to come to mind.
But every year, the Sri Sri Radha Krishna temple in Spanish Fork celebrates the beginning of Spring with the Festival of Colors, or Holi, as it’s called by the Krishna devout.
The festival is open to everybody, and practicing Krishnas find themselves a small minority in the crowd. On Saturday thousands from the surrounding area, including BYU and UVU students, gathered to celebrate.
“I didn’t want to go at first, but I’m glad I did” said Charlotte Coleman, a UVU student from Maryland. “Running in to other people that were covered in color was fantastic, like we were all part of a big ‘in’ thing. We all knew what happened and how much fun it was.”
The big draw at Holi isn’t the bonfire or the band, but the multi-colored powders thrown over everyone at the festival. After the recitation of a traditional Krishna story, the effigy of a mythical witch is lit on fire, and an explosion of colors engulfs the crowd.
People attending Holi buy bags of the powder in pink, yellow, orange, blue, green, and almost any other color imaginable. When the time is right, nobody is safe from the colors getting in clothes, hair, and faces.
Justin Morin, a BYU student, was glad the fun didn’t stop after he went home.
“Showering was awesome. It was what I imagine a horror movie would look like, there was purple coming from my head, and there was color all over the shower. And when I cleaned my ears, it was funny having both ends of the q-tips different colors.”
To learn more about the Krishna temple or the festival of colors, visit the Krishna temple website