By Ramneet Kaur —
Hola Mohalla is a Sikh festival which is celebrated with great zeal and zest by the Sikh nation. It is celebrated at the birth place of Khalsa, Takht Shri Anandpur Sahib with religious ceremonies. It is a tradition started by the tenth master Sahib Shri Gobind Singh ji Maharaj to instill courage and strength in the common people who were in low spirits at that time. Guru Sahib gave new form to the old festival of Holi to boost the morale of Sikh nation to fight against the atrocious rulers of that time, and in 1701 the tradition of Hola Mohalla was established.
It was started as a gathering of Sikhs for military exercises and mock battles on the day following the festival of Holi at Anandpur Sahib. Till this date, this festival is celebrated with the same tradition, and it reminds people of valour and defence preparedness of those times. In this festival mock battles, exhibitions, display of weapons, etc., are held followed by kirtan, music, and poetry competitions. Participants perform daring feats, such as Gatka (mock encounters with real weapons), tent pegging, bareback horse-riding, standing erect on two speeding horses, and various other feats of bravery. The atmosphere there is very vibrant and uplifting, and everyone seems to enjoy the festival.
Holi Kini Sant Sev
Rang Laga Aat Laal Dev
In this verse, Guru Arjan Dev ji is reciting that after keeping the company of God-conscious people, I have developed the realization and love for Divine Naam. As I am in love with Lord now, my mind is playing Holi of permanent colors that never fade. All my doubts, anguish and adversities have disappeared, and I am in total and eternal peace, bliss, and gaiety. I am rejoicing and playing Holi in the eternal colors of the divine love.
Jaisa Rang Kusambh Ka Taisa Yeh Sansar
Mere Ramiya Rang Majith Ka Keh Ravidas Chamar
In another verse, Bhagat Ravi Das ji also describes the divine love as a permanent color which brightens his life permanently unlike other loves of this world, which are ephemeral.
The festival of Hola Mohalla gives us a great message that we should all try to fill our lives with Divine love which is permanent and never changes and always gives eternal peace, bliss, and equipoise—unlike other loves of this world which are mere entanglements and one that gives pain.