Colors flow at Hindu temple’s Holi Fest in Irving

Holi_8_JT_01IRVING — Utkarsh Meshram’s face almost glowed. Bright yellow, hot pink, deep purple and vivid green covered not only his cheeks and forehead but his entire body.

He blended in with hundreds of others drenched in colors Sunday at DFW Hindu Temple in Irving. They came to celebrate Holi, an Indian holiday that heralds the arrival of spring.

“I like the dancing the best,” said Meshram, 22, a student at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Along with the flinging of colored powder, dancing is a big part of the festival. In the temple’s courtyard, a growing throng shimmied to Bollywood music while clouds of color enveloped them. Young and old alike swayed to the catchy beat.

“I like the family environment,” said Prasana Ruxmohan, 16, of Irving. “Everything is so much fun.”

She and her two friends, Audrey Given, 15, and Isma Azam, 17, poured colors all over each other. Not a speck of their clothes wasn’t covered.

The colors do come out, someone said, but only after lots of washes. It was dangerous navigating the courtyard because everyone was fair game.

“I like going up to strangers and saying, ‘Happy Holi,’ and then throwing colors on them,” said Audrey.

The colors signify new beginnings and unity. Another theme of the festival is the triumph of good over evil. Its name comes from Holika, a demoness who was burned to death by the forces of good.

“It’s my favorite festival,” said temple member Divyesh Lalloobhai, 30. “It’s all about bringing everyone together. Anyone can join in.”

Like in India, all religions, races and ages are welcome to celebrate Holi.

“It breaks the barriers,” said Smita Pahve of Colleyville. She came with her 8-year-old daughter Mohini.

“I like it when you can get someone who is not looking,” Mohini said, grinning.

The DFW Hindu Temple, like many Hindu temples in the United States, welcomes several branches of Hinduism instead of just one like the temples in India. Statues of 15 deities reside in the temple.

This inclusiveness has made the temple one of the busiest in North Texas.

And this weekend included not only the celebration of Holi but also marked the 25th anniversary of the temple’s official opening. Many guests filtered into the temple to worship before throwing colors.

“This is like the mother temple of all area temples,” said member Manju Shrivastava, one of the founders. When she came to the area in the late 1970s, she recalled knowing just a few other Indians. Today, about 200,000 Indians call North Texas home.

As the population has grown, more Holi festivals have popped up. The Fort Worth Hindu Temple and North Texas Hindu Mandir in Dallas also celebrated Holi on Sunday.

Two more celebrations are scheduled for Saturday. The Indreni Cultural Association will hold a Holi Fest from noon to 6 p.m. at 2700 Trawick Trail in Grapevine. The cost is $5. FunAsia will hold festivities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Hidden Cove Park and Marina, 20400 Hackberry Creek Park in The Colony. The festival is free for those 17 and younger and $10 for others.