Festival of Colors 101: optimizing your experience


Last year thousands of BYU students attended the Holi Festival and had great experiences. However, some students end up ruining their clothes and possessions, or  missing out on key points of the festival. These tips can help make the Holi experience the best possible:

1) Wear proper attire

With multiple colors of powder being thrown in every direction, clothes can be damaged and stained. This includes outer wear, under garments and shoes.

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The Krishna temple in Spanish Fork will host the Festival of Colors.
Over time an unspoken tradition has developed that those in attendance where white clothes. The white clothes offer an extreme contrast to the colored powder thrown during the event.

“It’s actually hilarious when you’re standing anywhere near the entrance and there’s a river of people coming and they’re all pristine and white and they’re crossing the people that are exiting and they’re all multi-colored,” said Charu Das, the festival coordinator.

2) Protect your eyes, mouth and nose

A bandana and sunglasses can go a long way in protecting a person’s eyes, mouth and nose. Many in attendance throw chalk in every direction and an unsuspecting passerby can easily catch a face-full of chalk.

3) Try an alternate travel route

With a high volume of traffic, Charu Das suggests taking Exit 250 from I-15 in order to reach the temple. Das said traffic is less congested when approaching the Krishna Temple from the south side.

4) Buy powder ahead of time and from the proper place

Powder is available for purchase at the temple in the days preceding the event and online. When bought online, the powder is available for pick-up before and during the celebration.

Roadside vendors began selling powder to those passing by last year. These vendors are selling illegally and police will be on hand to prevent illegal sales. Powder from other vendors will not be allowed in the festival to prevent unsafe products from entering the grounds.

5) Get to the festival early

Morgan Brown, a PDbio major from Bountiful, learned her lesson about being on time the hard way.

“I got there at the wrong time, between the throwing periods,” she said.

Brown still had a fun time with friends throwing chalk, but missed the main event. The main throwing periods happen every two hours. Those in attendance should know parking is limited and it may take 20 to 30 minutes to walk to the temple.

6) Try a different view

For those who have attended the festival in previous years, a different point of view can be helpful. Kristy Anderson, a recreational therapy major, suggests finding a place to sit and watch the cloud of color from the outside.

“It’s gorgeous if you’re out looking on it,” she said.

7) Take care of your camera

Last year, Sierra Camp, a dance major from Provo, brought her camera to the event.

“Those kind of events I think you have to document with pictures,” she said.

While taking a picture, one of her friends caught her by surprise and hit her camera with chalk. The camera was damaged from the chalk and no longer works.

To prevent occurrences like this, cameras should be carried in plastic bags and some people suggest using shrink wrap to cover all but the camera lens.

8) Be prepared to get friendly

With 50,000 people around, those in attendance will get more than their fill of contact. On top of that, they are encouraged to build relationships with others.

“Let me just put it this way, there’s a lot of free hugs that go around,” Charu Das said.

9) Bring old bed sheets and a change of clothes

After leaving the festival, participants’ clothes will be covered in multiple colors of powder. A change of clothes and a trash bag to carry the colored clothes will be helpful in preventing messes in the car.

Beyond new clothes, old bed sheets for car seats can be useful. While participants can change their clothes, there will still be plenty of residual powder on their body and in their hair.

10) Clean up properly

Before jumping in the shower, as much dry powder should be removed as possible. If the powder is not removed, hair can be dyed while washing. Angela Rowberry, a former BYU student, learned this lesson during her first trip to the festival.

“The first year I went I ended up with a thick, pink streak on the left side of my head,” she said. “It stayed there for about a month.”

The same tips can be applied to cleaning clothes. Before putting clothes in the wash, students should shake out their clothes vigorously to remove as much powder as possible.

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