In Search of Something Holi

A visual journey to find the arrival of spring

Story and Photos by Suzanne Tylander

We left with the California sun setting on our backs and drove until long after the shadows in front of us had faded into the desert floor. With nothing but a pair of headlights guiding us, we set out in search of something Holi; an annual celebration of the coming of spring and the triumph of good over evil. When the full moon had passed completely overhead, the sun began to peak over the hills and California was 12 hours behind us. We had arrived in Spanish Fork, Utah where every year thousands of people flock in celebration. Spanish Fork is a quaint little mountain town situated in a valley surrounded by the snow capped peaks of the Uinta National Forest, but for two days of the year, this sleepy mountain town in transformed into the home of the Holi Festival of Color.

Amid the vibrant green rolling hills of Spanish Fork lies the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple. It looks like something you’d find in the mountains of India, a tall white structure with even taller bell shaped spires that led towards the sky. Over the course of the morning, thousands of people gathered at the steps of the temple awaiting a countdown to the culmination of their celebrations. By the end of the day, you would have no idea that the temple once was a place of peace and tranquility, for the festival itself, in which its participants cover each other head to toe in traditional Indian colored powder, takes over. The green grass is left having seen the soles of thousands of shoes, and below the settling dust lays the unimaginable number of bags that once contained Holi powder. It was amazing how quickly it changed from a peaceful temple to a dense cloud of bright yellow and orange, mixing with green, blue and purple. Just before this though, a moment of absolute silence, silence except for the 5..4..3..2..1..