SCFI FestivalsSociety for the Confluence of Festivals in India

Holi in Punjab

Known for their love for life, Sikhs celebrate Holi in their own style and elan. At Punjab, they call it 'Hola Mohalla'. They shout, and shout their hearts out following a peculiar tradition. Besides, they also exhibit their martial arts specially 'kushti' on this day and make merry with the colours in the evening. Mouthwatering halwas, puris, gujias, a preparation of raw jack fruit and malpuas are of course, an essential part of the festivities. The only difference is that they do not light a bonfire.

Hola Mohalla

Holla Mohalla is celebrated a day after Holi in Punjab especially by the Nihang Sikhs.
The festival is celebrated with gusto at Anandpur Sahib for it was here that Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and last guru, instituted the pahul (baptism of the Khalsas), elected the panj pyare (the beloved five), and militarized his followers into the order of Nihangs (warrior-mendicants).

This festival of the Nihangs held at their headquarters Anandpur Sahib began as a counterpart to Holi. Though it almost did away with the throwing of colors, nonetheless, it is more colorful.

Martial arts like archery, sword fencing, fancy horse-riding, tent-pegging, and the deft handling of other contraptions of offence and defense are displayed by the Nihangs. Spectacular and thrilling acts of dare-devilry dexterously executed are performed.

The festivities close with a ceremonial procession taken through the township starting from Takth Keshgarh Sahib. Dressed in a long tunic of bright deep blue, an elaborate turban, sometimes of enormous size, at times banded with strips of bright yellow, armed with weapons of one's liking - bows and arrows, spears, swords and shield, muskets, guns or what have you - the Nihang displays his skills at this festival of valor, a pageant of the past.

The langar (community feast) is open through the day and lasts as long as there are any takers.

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