Hare Krishna is a greeting used by some Indian Hindus. It’s the name of their god.
Thursday evening at Boise’s Hare Krishna temple, around 400 hundred people will celebrate Krishna’s birthday.
Ravi Gupta runs the temple. His family started it 26 years ago. He says the evening will entail several plays and dances as well as over 100 vegetarian dishes.
The congregation has also worked hard on stringing together over 10,000 orange and yellow flowers to decorate the temple. String lights cover every surface of the outside, and the marble floors shine bright.
As the temple fills with Indian families, Gupta says he feels for his fellow Indians recently killed in Wisconsin. But he says still feels safe in Boise and members of his community aren’t worried about gathering together.
“Everyone in the community realizes just how fortunate we are, how lucky we are to be in Boise, and to be in a place where we can celebrate these things,” Gupta says. “It’s that feeling, that motivation, that’s added a lot of strength to this particular celebration this year.”
Rameshenkrishenan Enallavedi agrees. He’s been in Boise more than a year.
“There are so many good things here in Boise. Other than my parents and my relatives, if they’re here, I would love to be here forever,” he says.
This temple serves as a haven for many recent Indian transplants like Enallavedi. He moved here after taking a job with Supervalu. He says he likes the quietness Boise offers.
This year, he'll act in one of the plays during the event. Dressed in a red satin shirt with blue and gold sequins, he plays Hare Krishna’s father. He says participating in the program helps him get past his shyness.
But members of this community aren’t all Indians. Reilley Grindle is a sixteen-year-old who moved from Mountain Home to be closer to the temple.
Grindle says reading Hare Krishna literature made him reexamine his life.
“And I just kind of paused and let that sink in and I was like, huh, and I looked around and I was like, what am I doing in my life,” Grindle remembers. “It was kind of like a shock and awe moment.”
Grindle says his friends are open to hearing about Hare Krishna, but they don’t appreciate the religion like he does. He says he feels it’s answered many questions he had about life, and what’s after.
“It’s definitely brought me a more meaningful view of life,” Grindle says.
He also plays a small role in the program, wearing a black curly wig and holding a pitchfork, standing to the side.
The congregation has worked hard to get ready for this festival. Kids sit in circles and watch play rehearsals while adults patiently sting flower after flower onto garlands.
The festival begins Thursday night at 6:30 and celebrations will go well past midnight. It’s open to anyone interested.
Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio