Quite like the vibrant and effervescent arts and crafts of Punjab, the Punjabi culture is interwoven with equal amounts of valour and vivaciousness put together. Several years of civilization have yielded a strong, multi-hued culture which celebrates distinct festivals with tremendous enthusiasm and reverence. Some of these festivals are celebrated across the nation, while most are restricted to the state of Punjab but are also celebrated in small pockets in different states which boast of Punjabi population. These festivals spread life, cheer and fulfilment among the residents and bring out the real essence of life! One such is the festival of Hola Mohalla.
The festival of Holi is fondly called Hola Mohalla in the state of Punjab and is celebrated in peculiar styles in the villages. A game of kushti is organised in the villages in the morning and the typical playing with colours is organised in the evenings. Revellers shout with all their might while celebrating Hola Mohalla and typical sweets like puri, gujia, halwa and malpua are distributed among everyone. The beautiful festival that celebrates the romantic encounters between Lord Krishna and Radha is celebrated with great gusto and enthusiasm across the state of Punjab.
Significance of the Festival
The name Hola Mohalla can be traced back to Sikh history. It was the name given to Holi by Guru Gobind Singh at Anandpur Sahib and it is celebrated in a grand manner along with Baisakhi festival in all gurudwaras. The 10th Guru also decreed that the festival would be treated as an occasion to display the martial art spirit of the people. The Hola Mohalla celebrations last for three days. The sacred Guru Granth Sahib is given a holy bath with milk and water on the first day of the festival. Gurbani is sung throughout the day and religious lectures are given to the people. Then the Guru Granth is taken in procession for Nagar Kirtan. Devotees from all over the country gather during the festival of Hola Mohalla which comes in the month of March.
The Colorful Fair
There is also a fair which lasts for three days and the Gurudwaras are specially decorated and community functions are organised everywhere. On the last day of the fair Nihangs(armed Sikh order also referred to as Akalis) wearing traditional dress of dark blue attire and saffron girdles go on a long procession participating in Nagar Kirtans throughout the city and this culminates in a demonstration of martial arts games like tent pegging, riding, sword wielding etc which are witnessed by a large number of people. Cultural activities like Kavi Darbar, Poetry competitions, Dastar competitions (turban tying) etc are held throughout the day.