In the News:
Event draws both faithful, curious
Posted July 12, 2004
The world's oldest festival made its debut at the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork on Saturday with a vegetarian food buffet, traditional dancers, two plays and a parade complete with rain dance and llamas.
The Chariot Festival has been held in the coastal Indian city of Orissa for 3,000 years, said Charu Das, priest and co-founder of the temple in Spanish Fork.
"It is the oldest festival known to man," he said. "It is celebrated because Krishna is the supreme enjoyer and we are to be enjoyed."
The festival encourages people to find happiness in worship, he said.
"When the fingers put food in the mouth, the whole body enjoys it," he said. "If the fingers try to enjoy the food individually, they do not find enjoyment. Our whole modern society tries to find enjoyment individually but our movement is trying to get people to find enjoyment through worshipping God."
Rocio Briceľo came to the festival from West Jordan with her husband, Jack Bloom, after seeing a poster about the event.
"We traveled to India four years ago and for me it was a dream fulfilled," Briceľo said. "I had wanted to go ever since I was a child. We met on that trip and now we are married."
Saturday's event helped her and her husband recapture some of their experience in India, she said.
"I was just drawn to India without being able to explain why, so any time I have the opportunity to be exposed to another culture, I try to go," she said. "Any spiritual gain after that is icing on the cake."
Paul and Vee Hull of Spanish Fork said they brought their three grandchildren, now ages 4, 5 and 7, to the Llama Festival at the Krishna Temple last year.
"They were so enchanted by it, and all the costumes and dancers," Vee Hull said. "They said it was the most wonderful night ever. This weekend they were here with us, and we decided to bring them back."
She and her husband are also vegetarians and enjoy the vegetarian buffet served at all events at the Krishna Temple, she said.
"We really go for Indian food," she said. "We enjoy any opportunity to share in their cooking and find out more about their culture."
About 350 people attended Saturday's festival, a relatively small turnout compared to the Himalayan Festival and Llama Festival, each of which has been celebrated at the temple in Spanish Fork for at least a decade and now draws 3,000 to 4,000 visitors, Das said.
"This was small, but that is generally true for an inaugural event," he said. "I'm sure everyone here will be back next year with friends. The festival has been going on for 3,000 years, so it has a good track record and I believe it will do well here."
The next festival at the Krishna Temple will be the Llama Festival, held on July 17. For more information about the temple or festivals, call 798-3559 or visit www.utahkrishnas.com.