Holi – L.A.’s Festival of Colors

festival-of-colors-web

Saturday, March 16th 2013 marked the first annual L.A. Festival of Colors in Norwalk, California. Well, technically, Norwalk isn’t exactly Los Angeles – but it’s at least in L.A. County, right? At any rate – the event was certainly a festival, and there were, indeed, colors. Caru Das Adikari, Temple Priest of Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah, is to credit (or blame, depending on your persuasion) for the joyous mischief that was the Festival of Colors. So what’s all the colorful excitement about? Holi. A Hindu holiday dating back many hundreds, if not thousands of years. A spring time festival – one entangled in many different stories from different times and traditions- but one embraced by hundreds of millions in India, Nepal, and other places with sizable Hindu populations. Regardless of the particular tradition, Holi has always been a celebration of the triumph of good over evil – and has come to be a celebration of Krishna and Radha, the Beloved Duo at the centerpiece of Vaishnava Hindu worship.

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Modern kirtan celebrities, such as MC Yogi, Deepak Ramapriyan and the Breath of Life Tribe, Larisa Stow and the Shakti Tribe, DJ Drez and the Kirtaniyas riled the crowd with uplifting melodies and beats for one purpose alone – to sing the praises of Divinity. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare – Hare Ram, Hare Ram, Ram Ram, Hare Hare. It is said that one cannot even hear the words, the Holy Names of Krishna (God) once and not be uplifted by their transcendental sound vibration. One thing is for sure – young or old, Hindu or not, those in attendance had their spirits lifted by something. It is doubtful that mere bags of powdered color by themselves can create the type of brotherly love, unity, and spiritual ecstasy that was this years Festival of Colors – Holi – in Norwalk.

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Lovestock 2012 at Avalon in Hollywood

In the west coast line-up of new age festivals and gatherings, there’s a new kid on the block. Sunday, September 16th 2012 witnessed the first annual Lovestock Festival at The Avalon in Hollywood. Perhaps witnessed is too passive a word. Birthed? Blossomed? Manifested? At any rate, the event was an historic moment – Kute Blackson’s vision of empowered, loving oneness came to life in one of Hollywood’s premiere venues. The event, which was initially as mysterious as it was timely, was a literal who’s who of the L.A. county’s bhakti, yoga, kirtan, and new age scenes.

Kute Blackson Electrifying the people

The free event was marketed primarily through social media and quickly went viral within the genre. The event was moved to Avalon after over a thousand attendees registered, outgrowing the initial location. With free food, decadent flower-infused cocktails (non-alcoholic), and world renowned DJs, the allure of the event was irresistible to local bhaktas returning to L.A. county from Bhaktifest the week before.

Guests were greeted with a hug and a gift wristband from Think Love LLC which was later synced with all attendees to vibrate simultaneously in ecstasy. Local musicians, artists, healers, and gourmet raw vegan chefs highlighted the early hours of the event while DJ Cheb i Sebbah, Deepak Ramapriyan and the Breath of Life Tribe, and finally DJ Drez (among others) later ignited the fires of love and light, setting the night ablaze with unity.

The event likely saw a few firsts for L.A. county – for starters, a rarely-seen-in-the-west Balinese Monkey Chant; a playful, devotional, and unifying experience. Dwarkoji Sundrani, a 91 year young disciple of Mahatma Gandhi graced the audience with his presence and blessing. Dwarkoji founded the Samanvay Ashram; all proceeds from donations given at the event went to benefit the Ashram.

In the end, participants were asked to silently connect with their eyes and their smiles and offer a blessing to total strangers, to see and accept the divine in each other – truly a remarkable exercise. All left the event with love in their hearts and smiles on their faces. Two things are certain; Kute Blackson knows how to throw a party, and next year, Avalon won’t be big enough for this ever-expanding crowd of love enthusiasts.

Welcome to the Blisstival, Loves

Bliss

n.

1. Extreme happiness; ecstasy.

2. The ecstasy of salvation; spiritual joy.

Phrasal Verb: bliss out Slang To go into a state of ecstasy.

fes·ti·val

n.

1. An occasion for feasting or celebration, especially a day or time of religious significance that recurs at regular intervals.

2. An often regularly recurring program of cultural performances, exhibitions, or competitions: a film festival.

3. Revelry; conviviality.

 

adj.

Of, relating to, or suitable for a feast or festival; festive.

 

bliss·ti·val n.

1. Occasion of celebrating, in pure ecstasy, the love and oneness of all humanity

2. Any and all meetings of yoga/unity/love/new age/hippy/festie/bhakti minds, bodies, hearts, and spirits.

Phrasal Verb:

blisstivaling Slang

Attending said blisstivals.