Utah’s Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork received praise this week for its upcoming Holi festival celebration, which The Indian Times called “the world’s biggest Holi” festival.
Holi, commonly known as the “festival of colors” or “festival of love,” is a spring festival often associated with Hinduism, according to CNN. The holiday welcomes the spring season and represents good defeating evil.
According to Caru Das Adikari, spokesman for Festival of Colors USA, which runs the Krishna Temple event, said last year’s Holi festival drew between 35,000 and 40,000 people over two days. This year’s event, which runs from March 25 to 26, could see even higher numbers.
Adikari said Festival Colors USA hosted 11 Holi celebrations across the Southwest, including one in Riverside, California, which drew “double to triple” the amount of people from last year.
“We’re on a roll,” Adikari said.
The celebration draws locals from across the state, including students from BYU, Utah Valley University, the University of Utah and BYU-Idaho, Adikari said, adding that about half of all celebrants are Mormon.
Adikari said religion doesn’t matter, though.
“It’s not a religious festival. It’s a spiritual festival. Every living being is spiritual, so it’s fine,” he said.
The festival also gains international attention, he said. People fly in from all over the world.
The Facebook page Bhagavad-gita even shared a video from the Utah celebration, which shows Utahns outside Spanish Fork's Radha Krishna Temple, 311 W. 8500 South.
Adikari also said breaking down events by religion creates barriers. But the festival “removes the barriers and recognizes that we are all apart of the same spiritual family,” he said.
“People don’t care who you are,” Adikari told the Deseret News. “People don’t care where you come from. They’re going to just love you for who you are. And what's the answer to that question of who you are? You’re a spark of the divine.”
Adikari also said an often-lost theme of the festival is spring itself. He said attendees will celebrate the end of winter, but spring means more than that.
“Beyond the literal meaning of the festival, spring itself is a metaphor for revival, renewal, restoration,” he said. “We all get unfair things happen to us, tend to take the wind out of our sails, make us lose faith in the fulfilment of our premises and childhood dreams. This is to give it all back. Recharge everybody. Make some excitement for the future.”