An annual Sikh martial festival, Hola Mohalla is celebrated in the month of Phalguna (March), a day after Holi. Mock martial are organized on this day. Holla Mohalla serves as an occassion to reaffirm their commitment to the Khalsa Pantha.
Hola Mohalla was started a day after Holi by the tenth Sikh Guru, Gobind Singh, as a gathering of Sikhs to check military preparedness through military exercises and mock battles. It reminds the people of valour and defence preparedness, concepts dear to the Tenth Guru who was at that time battling the Mughal empire. The origin of Holla Mohalla dates back to 1757 AD.
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, felt that Holi is no longer a celebration to reaffirm fraternity and brotherhood. It had lost its original meaning and relevance. So, in 1757 AD he tried to revive the spirit of Holi and by weaving its essence into a festival created in the Khalsa traditions. Therefore, Holla Mohalla is a festival with the spirit of the Holi and Khalsa traditions.
Celebration of Holla Mohalla
Holla Mohalla is celebrated to reaffirm fraternity and brotherhood and reminding people of "valour and defence preparedness", concepts very dear to the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh.
Guru Grantha Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs is brought out with ceremony from its resting chamber and placed on the dais. Traditionally, it is always given a symbolic bath with milk and water.
Colorful processions are organized on the occassion of Holla Mohalla, particularly in Anandpur Sahib and Muktsar(both in Indian Punjab). Sikhs, especially the Nihangs, dressed in their traditional martial costumes form part of the pageant.
Mock battles are also held followed by music,poetry and other competitions. The Nihang Singhs (members of the Sikh army founded by Guru Govind Singh) portray their skills with mock battles and displays of swordsmanship and horse riding. The Nihang Singhs also perform daring feats, such as Gatka (mock encounters), tent pegging, bareback horse-riding and standing erect on two speeding horses.
Recently, the Indian Goverment had accorded Holla Mohalla the status of a " National Festival".
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