The brilliance of a thousand colors
On Saturday, Norwalk became a feverish sight of color and music as hundreds gathered to participate in the annual Holi Festival Of Colors. The event is part of a worldwide celebration of the Hindu faith's welcoming of spring. Participants gather, dance and smear paint dust on each other in a fun ritual symbolizing the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
In a large, barren field the crowds set up tents and a stage where bands performed rock, pop and hip hop music which were all linked through their reverence for the Hindu deity Krishna. Bands performed intense, tribal music with a primeval feel as singers onstage pronounced celebrations of love, unity and spiritual peace.
Anne and Jason, a couple awash in paint, looked ecstatic. "We're here to have fun and color everyone up. It's crazy, I want to bring everybody," said Anne.
Everything was awash in a hot spring day as hands were raised into the air, consuming all in view with a cloud of colors at the stroke of each hour. Throughout the day participants would casually approach you and gently stroke your cheek with paint, or give you a friendly pat on the back, leaving a colored handprint on your t-shirt.
"In this time of the year in India, the season changes, it is considered the best. The best part of the festival is the colors. It's surprising how many people know about it," said Salman Singh, an attendee from India.
The Festival Of Colors was both a link to an ancient faith and Southern California's famous 1960s culture of Asian mysticism mixed with hippie culture. Even visitors in their 20s looked like exiles from the Age of Aquarius.
Chris Sinjar, another attendee, said, "I love chanting, I love colors, this is a beautiful picture of both. I think as the time goes by, there's a time for re-charging and spring is the season for it. The plants get new leaves, flowers appear on the plants and trees. It's a beautiful time to celebrate with colors."
For the non-devout, the event was still an engaging outdoor concert experience, leaving little doubt that a change of seasons had taken place. Spring had arrived, fierce and full of life.