The Biggest Holi Celebration In The Western Hemisphere, Weeks Away (This Video Is Awesome)

Every year Indians celebrate the triumph of good over evil and usher in spring with “Holi” the festival of colors. So head to India by March 8th OR, if India is a little too far or too expensive, try the next best thing: the biggest celebration of Holi in the US, North or South America, or… probably the whole world excluding predominantly Hindu countries. It’s in Spanish Fork, Utah. Yep.

Every year the Hare Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah puts on the biggest Holi (festival of colors) celebration in the Western Hemisphere. In 2011 the Spanish Fork Police department estimated that over 40,000 people attended in the first day alone of the two-day festival. Organizers carefully rationed their stash of approximately 120,000 bags of colored powder.

Participants come from all over the country (and some from abroad), but the majority of attendees for the Festival of Colors are students from Brigham Young, Utah Valley, and Utah universities.

The Holi Festival of Colors celebrates the triumph of good over evil and ushers in the spring season. The festival commemorates a Hindu myth about a witch, Holika, who burned children in a fire. One child repeated the Hare Krishna mantra as he was carried into the flames and the witch was burned instead. At the Spanish Fork festival, rock and roll, R&B, and other modern interpretations of the mantra are played by musicians throughout the day and chanted in a call and response game between performers and attendees. The main event of each festival is the coordinated throwing of colored powder, when the sky above the crowd is filled with rainbow puffs of dye.

Technical notes: This video was shot on Canon t2is at either 24 fps for normal speed or 60 fps for slow-motion. Some clips were slowed down even more using timewarp in Adobe AfterEffects. The color was achieved through careful color correction of images that were shot fairly flat (meaning the blacks weren’t that black, the white weren’t that white, and the color wasn’t overly saturated, which gives you a lot of information to work with in post-production) and with the help of a plugin called Mojo. The composer Aaron Hatch (aka Fresh Big Mouf) created magical beats from his home in Los Angeles.

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