The liveliest of Hindu festivals, Holi, says goodbye to winter and shouts a greeting to spring with a rainbow of colors.
The 2013 Festival of Colors at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork will arrive in a burst of colors this coming weekend. If you have never attended a color festival, here are some tips to make your celebration more fun:
What: Often known as "The Color Festival," the event is an annual gathering of thousands of people walking around, dancing, singing and throwing color -- bags of colored and scented cornstarch-like powder.
When: 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Saturday, March 30, and noon-4 p.m. Sunday, March 31. The event is held rain or shine.
While walking around and seeing people throwing color is fun, make sure you stay for an actual mass throwing. Color throwings are every two hours. Try being in the crowd for one throwing, then try watching the next from afar. Seeing the exploding cloud of colors is astounding.
Where: Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple, 8628 South St. Road, Spanish Fork
To get there from the north, take Interstate 15 south to Spanish Fork Exit 257 and look for parking signs. Shuttle buses will run from the designated parking areas at Spanish Fork fairgrounds, Spanish Fork Sport Complex and Salem Hills High School. There is a $2 fee to ride the shuttle.
Paid parking will also be available in some private lots; street parking is very limited. Be cautious when walking on the small, crowded roads. It is a long and uphill climb to the temple.
Admission: $3. If you go to utahkrishnas.org, you can pre-purchase tickets, colors, T-shirts, meals or a festival package. All of this can be bought at the festival, but purchasing it beforehand may help you avoid long lines.
Colors: You can purchase color -- bags of colored and scented cornstarch-like powders -- at tables near the temple for $2 per bag. No color purchased from any source other than the temple is allowed on the grounds.The temple sells colors year round; they make it themselves and are the largest dealer in the United States. You can buy extra, while you're at the festival, to have your own color run, fun photo shoot, or the best family reunion ever.
Entertainment: If the colors aren't enough, there will be music by C.C. White. The largest crowds gather around the stage and the band will be part of the countdowns for the big color throws. T-shirts and food are also sold.
What to wear: Even though the color is supposed to be nonstaining, don't wear your favorite clothes! The color will get into your undergarments and your shoes. White clothing is not required, but it colors beautifully. Being the fresh, white newbie is a target for fun.
Cover your eyes, mouth and nose with a bandana and sunglasses, and don't wear contact lenses. If you have asthma, consider wearing a dust mask. The color is nontoxic, but it tastes odd and stings your eyes. For very blond colored/bleached or red hair, the color can act as a dye if it becomes moist or wet.
Protection: Be careful with your valuables. While this beautiful event should be remembered in pictures, take care to cover your electronics. Phones and cameras can be covered in plastic; a Ziploc bag works great. Also, bring towels or old sheets to cover your car seats and bring a change of clothes. Shake out all of the excess color from your clothes and hair to keep it from staining.
Crowds: Don't be shy. With an anticipated 50,000 visitors to the festival, personal space will be at a minimum. Also stay safe: People can get very boisterous and it can become overwhelming (especially for children) in the middle of a color-throwing crowd.
Be respectful: Throwing colors is not a competitive sport -- it should be fun for both the thrower and the recipient. Having someone chuck a handful of color into your face is not cool; having someone dust your shirt is. Also keep in mind that these are temple grounds. No colors can be thrown in or on the temple. Garbage should be put in garbage cans. Drugs, alcohol and smoking are not permitted.
Do not go into local businesses, like gas stations and fast food outlets, covered in color that is still shaking off of you. Do not use their bathrooms to clean yourself up.
Enjoy! Going to a color festival is an awesome experience. It was very amusing to show up with white clothes and end up looking like a walking color palate. It is also very entertaining to save some of your color for your exit and be the first to dust the white-clad newcomers.
My favorite part of the festival was watching a throwing of colors from the field below the temple; the sight of thousands of hands reaching up into the sky and bursting into an awe-inspiring gigantic cloud of color was astounding and unforgettable.
Rachel Badali is a senior in Electronic High School. You can contact her at email@example.com.