Holi in Punjab

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The festival of Holi is celebrated throughout the country especially in Northern parts of India. In Punjab this festival is seen in a different angle. The Sikhs celebrate the festival of colour in their own style. In Punjab, this festival of colour is given a special name and is Hola Moholla. Hola Moholla is celebrated in a peculiar style; the revellers shout their hearts out. This is the unique tradition of Holi in Punjab.

Some sports are being exhibited on this occasion. Generally martial arts and wrestling are organized in localities. In the evening, they play with coloured powder and coloured water and make merry with each other. Delicious and mouth watering foods such as puri, gujia, halwa, malpua and many more are essential in this festival of Hola Moholla.

Festival of Holi in Punjab or Hola Moholla is celebrated one day after Holi is celebrated in the other regions of the country. This festival is special one especially for the Nihang Sikhs of the region. Hola Moholla or simply Hola takes place on the first full moon of Chet which generally falls in the month of March. This tradition was established by Guru Govind Singh. The word Hola is masculine form of Holi and Moholla is derived from Arabic root Hal which implies to an organized procession. Unlike Holi in which people play with coloured powder and coloured water, the Guru made Hola Moholla a traditional occasion for the Sikhs to show or demonstrate respective martial arts skills. The two words Hola and Moholla together implies to mock fight. Processions are been organized in the type of army column and is accompanied by war drums and standard bearers. This procession proceeds to a particular spot are moves from one Gurudwara to another. This tradition originated at Anandpur in month of February 1701 where Guru Govind Singh held first event of mock fight. Since then, Hola Moholla, an annual fair is organized at a very large scale at Anandpur, Punjab after the day of Holi festival. The main purpose of organizing this kind of fair was to strengthen the Sikh community physically by holding mock battles and military exercises.

Hola Moholla is observed in Punjab for three consecutive days. The members of Sikh community displays physical strength and perform acts such as standing erect on two speeding horses, tent pegging, mock encounters, bareback horse riding etc. After all these events, poetry and music competition takes place in order to lighten the environment.

Durbars are also held in the evening in presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and religious lectures as well as devotional singing takes place.

On the last day of the festival, a long procession starts from Takth Keshgarh Sahib and passes through many important Gurudwaras such as Lohgarh Sahib, Qila Anandgarh, Mata Jitoji etc and terminates at Takth

The local people organize voluntary community kitchens known as langars for the people who are visiting Anandpur Sahib. Raw materials such as rice, flour, milk, sugar and vegetables are provided by the villagers of nearby locality. Women take part in cooking and the others clean the utensils. Traditional food is served to the pilgrims. A true feeling of brotherhood is seen in this festival of Holi or Hola Moholla in Punjab.

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