Packets of blue, yellow and pink powder exploded on every reveler as thousands descended on the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple for the annual Holi Festival of Colors in Spanish Fork on March 27.
The festival started in modest way in Utah, 15 years ago with about three Krishna devotees, three Brigham Young University students and four people from India, said Temple Priest Caru Das, who served as festival coordinator. It has grown every year since then.
The festival celebrates the defeat of the evil demoness Holika and is used as a time of forgiveness and merriment.
“It’s about love,” Das said. “It’s about increasing our vertical love with god and our horizontal love with other living beings’
The celebrations include musical interludes, the lighting of a bonfire, burning of an effigy of Holika and the throwing of colors on friend and enemies held every hour at the temple at 311 W. 8500 South in Spanish Fork
Beginning three years ago, Das has imported the colors from India in red, green, yellow, blue, black and silver hues. Because of the unpredictable weather and normally cold temperatures in Utah during the festival, the temple uses dry color packets of corn starch with organic dyes and scented with sandlewood and jasmine.
“I don’t like the feeling of being drenched and sticky, I’m kind of glad it stays dry,” Das said. “The dry makes a nicer picture as opposed to if you’re sopping wet.”
Organizers ordered about 110,000 bags this year, almost double the number ordered last year, which ran out during the festival.
“Each year I think we plateau,” Das said. “This is it this is as far as it will go and each year twice as many people come.”
Although admission was free, revelers could purchase the colors for $2 a bag. Along with the music and hourly color fights, the festival presented plates of gourmet Indian food for $6 a plate.
Proceeds from bag sales went to pay for organizing the vent, the purchase of the bags, as well as hiring live music from around the country - a new addition to the festival.
Das hopes to apply some of the money to building a new temple in Downtown Salt Lake City at 900 East 3300 South Salt Lake City as well.