Ratha Yatra in Bloomington, IL. Photo by Anuttama Dasa.
This weekend, ISKCON communities are hosting festivals worldwide, from Color Festivals in Columbus, Ohio, and Moundsville, West Virginia, to Ratha Yatra processions in Bulgaria, Brighton, and Bloomington.
ISKCON Columbus, a growing community in Ohio, is holding their first-ever Color Festival and less than 100 miles away in Mason (near Cincinnati), devotees are guiding a Ratha Yatra cart in the 2023 Heritage Festival and Parade. Ottawa, Canada’s Ratha Yatra is moving through the city, while in the UK, devotees are processing Lord Jagannatha to the Brighton Seafront.
In Boris Garden Park, Sofia, Bulgaria, devotees celebrated their 28th Festival of Unity Ratha Yatra along with special guests like His Excellency Mr. Sanjay Rana, the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Bulgaria and his family. Zagreb Croatia witnessed a melodious Ratha Yatra parade from the railway station to the town’s main square. While in America’s heartland, the Ratha Yatra Festival of Joy is engaging their community in downtown Bloomington. The Illinois event offered a full day of activities, including children’s arts and crafts, Indian street food, “Ask a Monk” sessions, prasada and book distribution, yoga classes, henna painting, and more. Bloomington’s Mayor Pro Tem Donna Boelen kicked off this year’s event while other city officials, including the Chief of Police, were on hand to show their support.
Ratha Yatra-themed events are now celebrated in over 100 cities around the globe thanks to the vision of Srila Prabhupada, who imported the ancient festival to the West in 1968.
Devotees celebrating at Bloomington, IL Festival of Joy. Video courtesy Anuttama Dasa.