The Sikh festival of Holla Mohalla is commemorated on the first day of the lunar month of Chet in the Nanakshahi calendar. This date usually falls in the month of March according to the Gregorian calendar. This lively and colorful festival is associated with displays of mock fights, weapons, exhibitions, kirtan, and music and poetry competitions. Though the festival is celebrate largely throughout Punjab and Haryana, the major attractions are those held in Anandpur from where this festival is said to have originated. The tradition of observing was started by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Scroll through the lines below to know more about the origin and historical background of Hola Mohalla.
Historical Background Of Hola Mohalla
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru and his force were in the act of a war with the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb and the Rajputs simultaneously. The Khalsa Panth fighting force had been founded by the Guru during that time. Eventually, on 22nd February, 1701, Guru Gobind Singh started a new tradition of dedicating a day towards mock fights and poetry contests. The event was held in Holgarh Fort, across the rivulet Charan Ganga, northwest of Anandpur Sahib. Since then, this tradition of practicing mock battles has gradually spread to Kiratpur Sahib, nearby town of Anandpur Sahib, and other Gurdwaras across the globe.
Started by Guru Gobind Singh, Holla Mohalla is celebrated a day after the Hindu festival of Holi. Apparently, the name Hola is the masculine name of the feminine Holi. While the vibrant Holi festival boasts of sprinkling color powders and splashing water, Hola Mohalla takes the form of demonstrating martial skills in simulated battles. Celebrated across the world, the most important festivities are observed in Anandpur Sahib that witnesses an annual festival. The three-day festival is enriched with mock fights, music, poetry, kirtan, etc.
Participants from all across the town can be seen performing bold and heroic acts, like tent pegging, bareback horse riding, Gatka (mock encounters with real weapons), standing erect on two speeding horses, and other war-like sports. The Sikhs organize colorful processions, starting from Takhat Keshgarh Sahib (one of five Sikh religious seats) through different significant Gurdwaras and finally ending at the Takhat Keshgarh. Tourists and visitors are served with traditional meals, called langars, prepared by the local people as part of community service. The pilgrims are served food while being seated in neat rows on the ground, known as pangats.