Nearly 70,000 people attend Holi festival in Utah

usamapnewAbout 70,000 people from across the US have gathered in the small American city of Utah to celebrate Holi, with only a small section of the participants being Hindus.

Americans from far and wide are attracted to the festival of colours, which is possibly one of the largest gathering of people in the Western Hemisphere, the local Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The two-day event this weekend is being held at the sprawling lawns of Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork in Utah, which has about 35,000 residents.

A significant majority of them are Mormons, a Christian religious sect whose one of the famous member is Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in the 2012 elections.

Temple priest Caru Das appeared frequently onstage, exhorting crowd members to give hugs – “not just to the people you came with. Hug a stranger” – and not to think of themselves as ordinary, he was quoted as saying.

“Each and every one of you is lovely and brilliant. No exceptions. This festival is to remind you who you are,” he said.

The festival is organised by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and the temple claims this to be the world’s biggest Holi festival.

Celebrations include non-stop live music from great bands, yoga, mantras, dance, cuisine, and of course the throwing of colours.

“I did not walk five feet past the gate before I got clobbered with dust,” laughed David Klco, 54, of Park City, as he stood on the temple hill, watching as pulsating masses of multicolored people danced below, throwing “colours” on anyone and everyone, and passing body surfers uphill from the mosh pit in front of the main stage, the daily reported.

“I came to celebrate my daughter’s 34th birthday. She loves this stuff. She is a rocker,” she added. The packets of vibrant colours were being sold at USD 3 apiece.

“It is a place for your inner child to come out,” said Robynn Kirkham, a Pleasant Grove accountant who runs a construction company when she does not have fluorescent yellow splatters on her temporarily purple and orange face.

The crowd was heavily weighted toward college, high school and junior high school students. But people of all ages made sometimes long walks to reach the temple, with its accompanying farm with llamas and peacocks.

The temple is holding the annual event for the last 25 years.

Source: Business Standard