Organizers say the act of throwing colors into the air, and at each other, began five thousand years ago in India. For many, like Hilary Cook, and her family, this year's Festival of Colors is a first celebration. "Are you looking forward to it?” She asks her children. “Yes, they are a little nervous but it will be fun." ‘’
While most seemed to enjoy the colorful adventure Saturday, few seemed to understand what the festival was really about. Jessica says the purpose is apparent. “You get colors in the face I guess."
The chalk, in a rainbow of colors, is tossed playfully into the air, in synchronized timing, several times throughout the day and night. It is made from corn starch and imported from India. It has taken the place of the flower petals used thousands of years ago. It is said to represent the beauty, color, and renewal of spring. That spirit includes forgiving all, creating friendship and unity. Viral Patel says colorful hugs help achieve that. "We try to overcome any animosity that we might have for each other"
Tyler Spencer, an Idaho native, says he is not so sure about feelings of unity and peace at the Festival of Colors. "It's awesome, but terrifying because at any moment people are going to try to get you in the eyes. I got it right up my nose."
With 330 tons of chalk on hand, and thousands of people throwing it, that's inevitable. Most people, young and old alike, attend the festival for that reason. They leave “painted” in psychedelic colors that clearly mark where they have been.
The chalk washes off, but participants are urged not to wear anything they really care about.
The Festival of colors is located at 311 West 8500 South, in Spanish Fork. It continues Sunday from 12pm to 4pm. To find out more visit www.utahkrishnas.org