Festival of Colors
Krishna Temple – Spanish Fork, Utah
Every year a celebration of epic proportions is being thrown in a tiny town nobody has ever heard of called Spanish Fork, in Utah.
Holi is a spring festival that has been celebrated by Hindus all over India since ancient times. This Hindu religious festival has become known as the Holi Festival of Colors (or the festival of sharing love). Although it was traditionally celebrated in India and regions with large Hindu populations the festival has gained popularity across the world, including here in the United States. Most of the celebrations in the U.S. are still quite small but the one in Spanish Fork’s Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple is enormous. Annual crowds have been exceeding more than 50,000 festival-goers.
The central ritual of the Holi holiday is to throw colored powders on your friends and family; hence the festival’s name. The reason for throwing colored powder is to symbolize a Hindu’s love of Lord Krishna and his followers. But Holi is also considered a time to celebrate the arrival of spring and the ending of winter.
So you may be wondering how on earth there could be 50,000 Hindus in Spanish Fork, Utah. There aren’t. In fact the vast majority of the people at the festival are not Hindu at all. This religious holiday and temple has opened its arms to anyone and everyone who wants to celebrate love and happiness. And this is the largest celebration of Holi in the western hemisphere!
Unlike many other very large gatherings of this size there are absolutely no drugs and no alcohol allowed. People of all ages show up to have a great time but I would say the vast majority of them are between 16-30 years old. There are traditional Hindu foods available to taste. Every few hours a synchronized throwing of colored powder takes place that engulfs the air and was unlike anything I’d ever seen or experienced before.
Everyone starts out wearing white colored clothes but it only takes a second to get colorized by incoming bombs of powder thrown by anyone. Before long you’re hair is multicolored, your teeth are stained and powder is caked all over every inch of your body.
DJ’s and bands play non-stop live mantra music throughout the day keeping the crowd energized as they chant along, crowd surf, break-dance, and throw colors all over each other.
If you plan to come with a camera you’ll want to avoid getting fine powdered color from destroying it. A gopro or ‘weatherproof’ camera should handle the powder just fine but may not produce the best images. Several people carrying expensive DSLR cameras had wrapped them in plastic saran wrap. You’ll definitely need a cloth to wipe powder from your lens.
Late in the afternoon there is a symbolic burning of the evil demon Holika.
Holi Festival Caught On Video!
I wasn’t able to capture video that showed how incredible this event was, so I’m sharing 2 of my favorites from Youtube:
Attending The Holi Festival Of Colors
Attending Holi Festival is easily one of the funnest celebrations I’ve been to! If you’re anywhere near Utah during the time this festival takes place you should definitely consider going.
While Spanish Fork remains the biggest event they’re also organizing these celebrations in several states and cities in Utah, California and Nevada. Check here for more info on the Holi Festival locations and dates see:
2016 Holi Festival Of Colors in Spanish Fork, UT
Saturday March 26, 2016 from 10:00 AM to 5:00PM
Sunday March 27, 2016 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
311 W 8500 S
Spanish Fork, UT 84660
Admission price – $5.00 (Kids Free)
See the official websites:
Awesome! So colorful and vivid. I want to take part in this celebration one day 🙂
Without your post I would have no idea this celebration occurred in Utah. Wonderful shots and I can see why you’d be nervous about your camera.
That would be such a cool party! Love all the color! I had never heard of this celebration before… so thanks for sharing 🙂
I don’t know how such a big event has managed to stay under the radar but it seems very few have heard of it!
Ahh! Good times! Incredible photos and videos, James!
I wanted to experience this in India two years ago, but couldn’t during the time of the festival. But, it’s good to know that there is one available in Utah.
Incredible, I had no idea anything like this took place away from Asia. Great post!
Great pictures! And what a cool idea!
Glad to hear that you are celebrating Holi in Spanish Fork also.
Great to know Holi being celebrated in Utah with such enthusiasm. I can see lots of people having a great time enjoying spraying the colors.
Beautiful pictures!! The colors are so bright and vibrant!! It looks like a great time was had by all. I hope to partake in something like this some day!!