Kicking off Dallas Arts Month with a colorful celebration of Indian culture and spirituality, the third-annual Festival of Joy will descend on Klyde Warren Park (2012 Woodall Rodgers Fwy, Dallas) on Saturday, March 28, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. The free festival, presented by Kalachandji’s and community partners 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 decor, and a free vegetarian feast along with riveting music, dance and interactive cultural exhibits.
“We look forward to bringing an even bigger and bolder Festival of Joy, with expanded programming and interactive activities for visitors of all ages to enjoy,” said Nityananda Dasa, president of the Radha Kalachandji Temple. “Quickly becoming a Dallas tradition, the festival marks the beginning of spring and the renewal of life. There really is an infectious joy felt by the thousands who attend, and we hope more people will come and experience this special celebration of spiritual culture.”
The Festival of Joy kicks off at 11 a.m. with a welcome ceremony at Klyde Warren Park, followed by a parade at noon through the Dallas Arts District and returning to the park around 1:30 p.m. Hundreds of festival-goers, pilgrims and faith leaders will hand-pull the colorful chariot carrying the sacred deities of Jagannatha, Subhadra and Balarama up and down Flora Street. Surrounding the chariot, hundreds more – including festival visitors – will dance while singing sacred mantras and playing traditional musical instruments. (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.)
After the procession ends at Klyde Warren Park, families and guests can enjoy cultural and educational exhibits revealing the spiritual heart of India until 6 p.m. The park will feature a main stage with kirtan (musical mantra meditation) and bharat-natyam (classical Indian dance), plus booths featuring traditional crafts, vegetarian cooking demonstrations, cultural displays, traditional dress-up (try on a sari or turban), face painting, mehendi (henna tattoos) and more.
A free, multi-course vegetarian feast for up to 4,000 festival-goers will be served, and varieties of ethnic vegetarian food will be available for purchase.
New this year is Kalachandji Konnect, an opportunity to continue some of the experiences after the Festival and throughout the year, including cooking demonstrations and ongoing classes. In addition, the popular “Ask-a-Monk” sessions will be offered weekly at Kalachandji’s.
The Festival of Joy – also celebrated as the Festival of Chariots or Ratha Yatra – has its roots in ancient India and the bhakti tradition. It’s celebrated in major city centers around the world, including New York City’s Fifth Avenue, London’s Piccadilly Circus and Los Angeles’ Venice Beach. It has been observed annually for more than 3,000 years in the ancient holy city of Jagannatha Puri in Orissa, India, making it the oldest street festival in the world.
Free and concessional parking is available on a first-come basis. Learn more at FestivalofJoyDallas.com or call 214-662-6889.