3.29.2009

Colors Festival

We are lucky enough to have a temple in town. I'll bet most of you didn't know that. But it's a pretty, white building with lots of Indian influences. It's the Hare Krishna's temple. A couple times a year they have big festivals. In the spring they welcome the change of seasons with Holi, the Festival of Color. This is the tenth year and we finally decided to check it out. You'd think we would have gone sooner. It is probably one of a few cultural events in Utah County without any hint of Mormonism.
"Holi is a Hindu holiday that commemorates the escape of Prahlad (a character from the Puranic texts of Hinduism) from the demonic witch Holika. According to the texts, the evil Holika carried the virtuous Prahlad into a large fire, but in a twist of fate, she burned while he remained unharmed because of his devotion to Lord Vishnu.

In countries such as India and Nepal, the joyous annual holiday is celebrated by constructing a bonfire to honor Prahlad's religious faith. The throwing of the colors follows the bonfire as a fun way to wipe out differences between people of different castes -- when everyone is covered with colored powder, race, ethnicity, and other superficial differences between people evaporate and everyone is free to celebrate and love one another." Salt Lake Tribune

We got there a little late, as did many people. We parked at the new ballpark and walked the rest of the way south to the temple. We knew it would be a long walk, but cars were parked from just before there all the way past the temple. It is a big event and many college students come as do all the Hare Krishnas from the surrounding area. From about 4 till 10 pm Main Street from the highway all the way south to the temple was bumper to bumper. It took us almost half an hour to walk to the temple and it reminded me of the opening scene to Office Space. The main character driving his car to work through rush hour traffic is being passed by an older gentelman with a walker. We kept passing and getting passed by the same red Mini Cooper. It finally parked near the temple but didn't save any time driving!

When we got there the ground were already covered with people and colored, aromatic chalk and the band was playing one of the Hare Krishna song. The one with the chorus that goes "Haareee Krissshhhnaaa!" It had a lot of verses and I don't think they made them all up. The second to last verse was "Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, Jack fell down, and. . .Jill found some glue!"

We climbed up to the temple terrace to get a bird's eve view. There were thousands of people! According to the newspaper around 15,000 people came. They hailed it as BYU's unoffical Spring Break, since they don't get one, wouldn't want to give the kids a chance to be wild. I've been to a few concerts/festivals in my college-age life that reminded me of this, minus the colors, and I've never seen it attended by mostly sober kids. But they were still having fun!
After we arranged a meeting place with the children in case we were separated, we each grabbed a kid's hand and headed into the melee. I had Middle Child and slowly made our way to the stage down below. As we were standing there with some colors on us, I asked him if he liked it. "No, I can't hear anything!" he hollered back. I had stuck us next to the speakers, taller than him and sending the beat right through our bones. So we circuitously headed back up the hill to the temple.
After we found Olaf and Baby we hung out for a while getting the occasional chalk thrown on us. Then we went and checked out their animals. We had a blast and the kids loved it too. We decided to head home around 7 so we didn't have to hike up the highway after dark, it's a two-lane road without any curbs or sidewalks. While we were walking the Utah County sheriffs were attempting to keep order by telling everyone to walk single file on the side of the road. That wasn't going to happen. Then I decided I was starving! So we hoofed it in an attempt to get back to town before 8 so we could make our favorite restaurant in Spanish Fork, Jaxie's. And we made it in the nick of time!

7 comments:

sally said...

When you started telling us all about the event I thought maybe you'd read a book to be ready for it. But it turns out you cheated and just got something from the paper. Please don't mention food anymore - I'm pregnant and very very far away from Spanish Fork's yummies. By the way those are some pretty neat pictures - did you take them?

Donna said...

Id love to take credit for the pics but they are just from the Hare Krishna's website. They said if you brought a camera to protect it from the chalk so I didn't bring one. Most people had theirs in baggies.

SamBamby said...

I wish I could have gone. Alas, I was stuck at the Boys Like Girls concert.

mommybake said...

Look at what we missed out on when we didn't come last night!! All though - I don't know if I would have been up for so much walking!!

Emily said...

Oh my gosh, Holi is SO much fun!

I saw this artsy movie about it at some museum in Italy, and I thought it sounded fascinating. When I found out about the Krishna temple celebrating it, I was so so excited.

I went a couple years ago with a group of friends. We had some of them go early so that they would be able to buy us color because sometimes they run out.

It was one of my absolute favorite things I've ever been to. My friends and I had so much fun throwing color on each other.

Last year I was in NYC/DC for spring break and this year I had already volunteered to help at the Symphony. Next year, though, I'll totally be back.

quilts and quirks said...

How fun, you'll have to let me know when they do it next. It looks like a blast!

the HeartTongues said...

how interesting; i had no idea! we might have to give it a try sometime... :)