By Kulbir Kaur
In addition to the traditional Holi, Sikhs celebrate Hola Mohalla, which was given a new form, new significance and a new name by Guru Gobind Singh. The word Hola means halla (attack) and “a military charge”. Mohalla implies an organised procession in the form of an army column. The Guru, in true spirit of “saint-soldier”, made Hola Mohalla an occasion for Sikhs to demonstrate their martial skills and at the same time to be imbued with the spiritual word in the form of shabad. The event was reinvented to revive the spirit of brotherhood and martial ethics in the Sikh community.
The sacred Guru Granth advises Sikhs to play a pure Holi by immersing themselves in Naam-simran (meditation involving chanting of the divine name). “I am imbued with the deep crimson colour of the Lord’s divine love; My mind and body have blossomed forth, in utter incomparable beauty,” says the Guru. Sikhs celebrate Hola Mohalla at Anandpur Sahib in a celebration marked by shabad-kirtan, langar, processions and poetry-recitals. The main attraction of the event are the feats shown by Nihangs like gatka, horse-riding, standing on speeding horses, etc. The festival of Hola Mohalla showcases the true colours of bravery.