By Jim Urquhart
The Holi Color Festival is a yearly event in Utah that for years I have known of but never attended myself. I would be reminded of it after the fact when seeing it in images by other photojournalist friends. It is rooted in a Hindu tradition of celebrating the end of winter and beginning of Spring and takes place at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah.
What makes this festival so amazing is not just the crowds of people and the color but also that it is taking place in Utah County. The same county as the LDS Church's Brigham Young University. In my mind, Utah County is not known as a mecca of culture and was really only a melting pot of white bread, sugar and milk. I was about to have my stereotype blown away.
It has always puzzled me and in the days before the event I was asked to speak to communication students at BYU. I asked the professor of the class, who is also a good friend, why it is that so many Mormon youth and young adults attend the event. It is not part of my picture of white Utah county. He explained that the event draws the students and families from the area because not only is it an experience in another culture's traditions but it also a safe fun outlet for them.
And with that I was off.
The night before my wife and I gathered old clothes, jackets, hats and shoes that I could feel good about getting ruined when the colors flew. The colors are a type of chalk powder in different hues. I am assuming it is a type of chalk because I remember the taste of chalk after talking back to a teacher in elementary school.
Some of my friends were bummed that the weather forecast had called for rain that day but I thought it could actually make the event more interesting. Granted, the beautiful light would be obscured but the mud and wet streams of color on people appealed to me.