Get a Taste of Indian Culture at Festival of Joy

The Festival of Joy is this weekend.
The Festival of Joy is this weekend. Sarah Harrell

Thousands of people will get a taste of Indian culture and vegetarian food when the Festival of Joy comes to Klyde Warren Park on Saturday.

Kalachandji’s Dallas is preparing between 6,000 and 10,000 free, multi-course vegetarian meals to serve during the celebration’s second year in Dallas. A variety of other ethnic, vegetarian dishes will be available for purchase. According to a press release, the Crow Museum of Asian Art and Kalachandji’s will host the event, which has roots in India and the bhakti tradition that stretch back thousands of years. Along with music and dancing, the family-friendly affair will feature a parade, 27 booths, face painting, henna tattoos, crafts for kids and a chance to dress up Indian-style in a sari or turban.

“Despite unseasonably cold temperatures, last year’s festival drew thousands of families, young adults and dignitaries who experienced the bold colors, beautiful flowers and décor, authentic cuisine, music, dance and interactive cultural exhibits,” says the release. “This year’s event, which is free and open to the public, kicks off Dallas Arts Month.”

Starting at 11 a.m., a parade will begin to make its way through the Dallas Arts District in grand style to Klyde Warren Park, 2012 Woodall Rodgers Freeway.

“The parade will involve hundreds of festival-goers, pilgrims and faith leaders who will hand-pull the colorful chariot carrying the sacred deities of Jagannatha, Subhadra and Balarama along Flora Street to Klyde Warren Park," the release says. “Next to the chariot, hundreds more will dance while singing sacred mantras and playing traditional musical instruments.

“Also celebrated as the Festival of Chariots, or Ratha Yatra [the Festival of Joy is] celebrated in major cities all across the world, including New York City’s Fifth Avenue and London’s Piccadilly Circus. Devotees believe that if they get the honor of pulling the ropes of the giant chariot carrying Lord Krishna, known as Jagannatha or the Lord of the Universe, then after this life they will obtain eternal service to the Lord in the spiritual world.”

Once at Klyde Warren Park, people can enjoy the fun, exhibits and “splash of spiritual culture” until the festival ends at 6 p.m.

“Although last year’s weather was frigid, we had a wonderful crowd that embraced the Festival of Joy, including Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings,” Nityananda Dasa Adhikari, president of the Radha Kalachandji Temple, said in the release. “We are excited to join other major cities in presenting this ancient celebration and sharing the magical culture of India with North Texans.”

Free parking is available on a first-come basis. For more, visit FestivalofJoyDallas.com.
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