India knows how to do spring.
Holi, which is March 24 this year, is the annual Hindu religious festival in which people fling vivid colored powders and scented water at one another. Joy and giddiness collide in a fog of pigments.
"You can't be unhappy at the Festival of Colors, it's impossible," said Caru Das, a priest at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah. "Once everyone is ridiculously colored in green, purple and red, it's impossible to take yourself seriously."
The celebration has spread to many corners of the world, including the U.S.
The Festival of Colors is rooted in ancient Hindi stories. In one, Prahlad, who worshiped the god Vishnu against his father's wishes, survives the flames of a bonfire because of his faith. Another recounts the love story between the god Krishna and the cow-herding maiden Radha.
Whatever the reasons, the festival vibe is all about love, joy, good triumphing over evil — and the arrival of spring. "Spring itself is a metaphor for transformation, and it's something we should do year-round … and on a daily basis," Das said.
For Das, Holi is spiritual and can be life-changing. He organizes Holi festivals around the U.S. that feature mass color throws on the hour as well as traditional food and entertainment.
Fests are coming to Las Vegas on April 23, Oceanside on May 14 and the San Fernando Valley on May 21. Admission is modest — $5.25 to $5.50 for adults, and children are admitted free, but you must pay for your own colors.
On the secular side, ColorFunFest 5K races are held around the country too.
They lack the traditions (as Holi has spread around the world, it has become distant from its origins) but have plenty of colored powder to shower on runners. A race in Los Angeles takes place on April 24.