Holla Mohalla is a Sikh festival celebrated on the next day of Holi. The festival is commemorated on the first day of the lunar month of Chet, according to the Nanakshahi calendar. Also known as Hola Mohalla, Holla Mahalla and Hola, this festival generally falls in the month of March in the Gregorian calendar. The major celebrations can be witnessed at Anandpur Sahib, where the festival originated. They are marked by traditional valor and display of martial arts by the Nihang community of the Sikh religion. The festival is celebrated across three days with huge fanfare and enthusiasm. The festival is observed in all places across the world where Sikhs reside. Browse through the following lines to know all about celebrating Holla Mohalla.
How Hola Mohalla Is Celebrated
Holla Mohalla is a three-day festival started by the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. The festival was basically originated to gather all Sikhs together and practice military exercises and mock battles to face the Mughal Empire at that time. The origins can be taken to the foothills of the Shivaliks in Ropar district of Punjab’s north-eastern region, particularly around the historic towns of Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib. Since 1701 after its introduction, thousands Sikhs and visitors gather at Anandpur Sahib to witness the colorful celebrations. The day reminds all Sikhs across the world about the valor, bravery and spirits that Guru Gobind Singh endured during the battle.
The festival is mainly marked by mock battles followed by music and poetry competitions. Exhibitions are also held displaying weapons. A large number of locals and outsiders participate in the festivities and perform different daring stunts, such as tent pegging, bareback horse-riding, Gatka (mock encounters with real weapons), standing erect on two speeding horses and various others bravery feats. The holy book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib is laid on dais from its pious chamber. It is then bathed in symbolic milk and water according to the traditions. This custom is carried in a number of Darbars where kirtans and lectures are held.
The last day of the celebration is marked by a long procession led by Panj Pyaras, starting from Takhat Keshgarh Sahib. This procession passes through different significant Gurdwaras, such as Qila Anandgarh, Lohgarh Sahib, Mata Jitoji and ends at the Takhat (Keshgarh). A grand langar (voluntary community kitchens) is arranged for all people visiting Anandpur Sahib by the local people as part of sewa (community service). The food is prepared from the raw materials, such as wheat flour, rice, vegetables, milk and sugar, provided from the villagers residing in the vicinity. Women volunteer to cook traditional cuisine which is served to the visitors and pilgrims that are seated in rows on the ground, known as Pangat.