By Taylor Mayad
Ushering in the summer season with a colorful celebration of Indian culture and spirituality, the third annual Festival of Joy will take place on Saturday, May 21, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at Klyde Warren Park (2012 Woodall Rodgers Fwy., Dallas).
The free festival, presented by Kalachandji’s, Sewell Lexus and American Airlines, brings together thousands of families, young adults and dignitaries for a fun-filled day of bright colors, beautiful flowers and a free vegetarian feast, along with riveting music, dance and interactive holistic living and cultural activities.
“The energy and joy felt by the thousands who attend reminds us that there is hope in the world and that the consciousness within can spread to inspire others,” said Nityananda Dasa, president of the Radha Kalachandji Temple. “We hope people of all backgrounds will come and experience this special celebration of spiritual culture.”
The Festival of Joy — also celebrated as Ratha Yatra or the Festival of Chariots — is rooted in ancient India’s bhakti or devotional tradition. It has been observed annually for more than 3,000 years in the holy city of Jagannatha Puri in Orissa, India, making it the world’s longest-running street festival.
The Dallas festival starts at 11 a.m. with a welcome ceremony at Klyde Warren Park, followed by a parade at noon through the Dallas Arts District.
Hundreds of devotees and faith leaders will pull the colorful chariot carrying sacred deities along Flora Street. Surrounding the chariot, hundreds more will dance while singing sacred mantras and playing traditional musical instruments.
After the procession ends at Klyde Warren Park, families and guests can enjoy cultural and educational exhibits revealing holistic living and the spiritual heart of India until 7 p.m. The main stage will feature kirtan (musical mantra meditation) and bharat-natyam (classical Indian dance), and stalls will present Ayurveda, yoga, traditional crafts, vegetarian cooking demonstrations, cultural displays and more.
A free, multi-course vegetarian feast will be served, and many varieties of ethnic vegetarian food items will be available for purchase.
“We look forward to a safe, bigger and bolder Festival of Joy, with expanded programming and interactive activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy,” Dasa added.
Learn more at FestivalofJoyDallas.com.