Thousands of Utahns celebrate the arrival of spring

SPANISH FORK, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - Spring is in the air.  You can feel it, you can smell it, and in Spanish Fork, you can see it! 

Music, laughter, and plenty of good vibes filled the air at the Krishna Temple.  It's called the Festival of Colors, and for 25 years now, people come to celebrate spring, and throw their worries to the wind. 

"It's so fun to be around, a good atmosphere.  You just love to be crazy, and you can be your own person," said Landon Facer, a second-year attendee. 

The tradition dates back to ancient Hinduism, more than two thousand years ago.  In fact, March 17th--just last St. Patrick's day--is when they celebrated the Festival of Colors in India. 

"Nothing that comes against us--like financial problems or pressures at school--should cause us to lose sight of the fact that we're full of joy.  We're eternal, we're full of knowledge," said Charu Das, one of the original Hindu organizers. 

Now this Holi Festival, as Hindus call it, has exploded all over the world.  Spanish Fork's festival is particularly special.  It is the biggest Hindu celebration in the Western Hemisphere with flying colors.  

"We started in 1989 with just a few people, maybe six or eight devotees," Das said. 

This is not just a celebration of spring, though.  It's a celebration of love and acceptance for your neighbors. 

"I don't really know much of the symbolism, but it's really fun to experience new things and get to know what other religions like to do," Facer said. 

"Although [participants] may not fully understand the potency of the mantras, we have faith in them," said Das. 

Around nine thousand Hindus live in Utah.  That's only about .5 percent of the population.  Still, organizers of the festival encourage everyone of all religions to come join them Sunday, rain or shine, to let it fly. 

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