There is a festival celebrated annually in the state of Punjab referred to as Holla is held in March. This festival of Sikhs is celebrated at Anandpur Sahiba and Muktsar as a grand affair.
Holla or Hola Mohalla is an Olympics event of Sikhs which got its name by Ross beginning on the premier day of Chet lunar month according to the Nanakshahi calendar. Usually, it happens to fall in the month of March and even has its coincidence with the New Year of Sikhs sometimes. This event is celebrated for a week comprising of camps and several displays of bravery and fighting prowess along with Kirtans, poetry and music. People also dine with each other in Gurudwaras sitting together in queues or pangats eating vegetarian food provided in Langars. The event comes to an end having a long procession in a style of military near Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, which remains to be one among the 5 seats of Sikhs’ temporal authority.
This festival is celebrated happily by Sikhs as they perform and watch the carnival of martial arts, escorted by Gurudwaras’ Nishan sahibs followed by poetry readings and music competitions. This festival is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm and is considered as a National Festival by the Indian Government and has gained popularity in the Punjab state since 1701.
The origin of this festival dates back to Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of Sikhs. Guru was having his fight with both the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb as well as the Hill Rajputs and he had established the Khalsa Panth recently. On 22nd February, 1701, Guru Gobind Singh began a new tradition of overlooking a mock battles day as well as poetry contests organized at Holgarh Fort. This tradition since then got spread from Anandpur Sahib to the close by Kiratpur Sahib and further to foothills of Shivaliks and then other Gurudwaras of rest of the world.
Celebration of Holla Mohalla
At Holla Mohalla festival, one can witness people gathering in Anandpur Sahib and taking pleasure of bhajans along with participating in contests such as wrestling, fencing and archery and so on. There is also tempting langars arrangement done by sewadars.
The Nihangs are the major attraction of this festival dressing up in beautiful dresses of blue colored clothes having saffron straps along with high turbans embellishing with moustaches, steel rings and flowing beards carrying swords as their weapons for fighting.
Several other interesting features of this festival are as follows:
- Wrestling sport began by the followers of Guru Hargobind ji across the boundaries of Akal Takht Sahib as well as across the Punjab state as it has been the wrestling birth place. At present, this sport is commonly held in more than 7000 villages in the state of Punjab.
- Several other activities of games held during the festival are Football, Kabaddi, Weight-lifting, Cycling, Archery, twisting the iron-rod by keeping it on the Adam’s apple as well as Acrobatics.
- Therefore, meet of several games are held such as meet of Kila Raipur Games and Kamalpur Kalgidar Tournament. There is organization of Sports fair at Dhudike’s Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial, Mullanpur, Sahnewal and Dahambo. Apart from this, there are various small games held in Rurka Kalan, Rauni, Dhurkot and Lalto Kalan etc. The local people also love to analyze the skills and power of their animals by participating in hound-Racing, pigeon fighting, Bullock cart racing, bull fighting and Pigeon fighting.
- There are several other activities which are performed such as music contests held at the festival time. Music is regarded to be the heartbeat of the state of Punjab and therefore it is held in almost all regions of state. The best performances among these are further organized in Karamjit Dhuri and Jagmohan Kaur.
- There is a spectacular performance which can be witnessed here with men battling hard and that too in jest.
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