HollaMohalla

Hola Mahalla is a one day Sikh festival which takes place on the second day of the lunar month of Chett) (a day after Holi which is a two day festival starting with Holika Dahan on the last day of the lunar month of Phagan on full moon and the actual day of Holi the next day on the first day of Chett) and most often falls in March,and sometimes coincides with the Sikh New Year.

The fair held at Anandpur Sahib is traditionally a three day event but participants attend Anandpur Sahib for a week, camping out and enjoying various displays of fighting prowess and bravery, and listening to kirtan, music, and poetry.For meals, which is an integral part of the Sikh institution (Gurdwara), visitors sit together in Pangats (Queues) and eat vegetarian food of the Langars.The event concludes on the day of Hola Mohalla with a long, military-style procession near Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, one of the five seats of temporal authority of the Sikhs.

Bhai Kahan Singh, who compiled the Mahan Kosh (the first Sikh encyclopedia) at the turn of the 20th century, explained, “Hola is derived from the word halla (a military charge) and the term mohalla stands for an organized procession or an army column. The words ‘Hola Mohalla’ would thus stand for ‘the charge of an army.'” Dr. M.S. Ahluwalia notes that the related Punjabi term mahalia (which was derived from the root hal, meaning to alight or descend) refers to “an organized procession in the form of an army column accompanied by war drums and standard-bearers, and proceeding to a given location or moving in state from one to another.”

The festival was founded by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru.The Guru was in the midst of fighting both Aurangzeb of the Mughal Empire and the Hill Rajputs, and had recently established the Khalsa Panth.On March 7, 1701, Guru Gobind Singh started a new tradition by overseeing a day of mock battles and poetry contests at Holgarh Fort.The tradition has since spread from the town of Anandpur Sahib to nearby Kiratpur Sahib and the foothills of the Shivaliks, and to other Gurdwaras around the world.