Celebrations of Hola Mohalla Festival
Expressions of Devotion and Enthusiasmpunjab/amritsar/
Punjab is a state of colors, energy and enthusiasm. And all these are evident in the many festivals celebrated throughout the state of Punjab. Not only are the bigger festivals a stage for experiencing the exuberance of the masses, even the lesser known festivals too are times for much �clat. No matter what time you are in Punjab, you are always in between the celebrations of a festival or really close to one. Festivals of Punjab means a lot of good music, entertaining dance and uncountable varieties of mouth watering dishes. Since Punjab is predominantly an agricultural state, it is no surprise that Baisakhi, the harvesting festival, is the most important festival for the people of Punjab.
So strong is the electrifying ambiance of Lohri, that it no longer is bound to the state of Punjab. It is today a major festival in almost all states of North India. Lohri, also called the 'Festival of Bonfire' is celebrated every year on the 13th of January. The lighting of bonfire around which people perform folk dances and sing Punjabi songs marks the festival. January is a time when the weather is extremely cold and the temperatures linger close to 0 degrees. Thus for many people, Lohri is a also a temporary relief from the chilling weather. In the morning of the day, children run from door to door demanding Lohri 'Loot' in form of either money or eatables like sweets, jaggery, gajak or rewri. As the evening sets in, huge blocks of wood are arranged and are lit up. They are set up either on harvesting fields or in front of the homes.
Amongst all the festivals of Punjab, Baisakhi is the most important festival of the state. Baisakhi is a festival celebrating the harvesting of Rabi crops. Not only is it an important day for the farmers, but the festivals also holds a great importance in Sikh religion as well. This day starts early for the people of Punajb. Many take bath in the holy river and visit the nearby Gurudwara. There are special prayers organized in all gurudwaras. Afterwards cultural programmes are organized where people gather to enjoy by dancing and singing. The celebrations of Baisakhi is the best place to witness the Bhangra and Giddha dance.
Guru Nanak Jayanti
Guru Nanak Dev is the first sikh guru and is known to be founder of the Sikh religion. Born in the year 1469 AD, his birth day lies in the month of Karthik. This generally falls in the month of (October / November) according to Gregorian calendar. There are in all 10 Sikh gurus and their birth anniversaries are called as Gurupurabs and all are celebrated with devotion and enthusiasm. Guru Nanak Jayanti celebrations generally last 3 days starting two days before the birth day. Many Gurudwaras organize 'Akhand Path', a forty eight hour non-stop reading of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs. On the day, there are special community lunch also called langars. It is done with the spirit of Service and devotion.
Hola Mohalla is a festival that is among the most important festivals for the Sikh community. The festival marks the New Year according to the lunar Nanakshahi calendar of Sikhs. This day is seen as an occasion for the Sikh community to show their martial skills in faux battles. In fact, 'Hola Mohalla' literally means for 'mock fights'. Originated during the time of Guru Gobind Singh, the first mock fight was held at Anandpur in 1701 AD. This too is a three day festival and on all three days there are grand celebrations including mock fights, exhibitions, display of weapons and kirtans.
They are followed religious lectures, msuic and poetry competitions. On the last day of the festival, a long procession is organized which is led by Panj Pyaras, (the five beloved ones) and starts form Takhat Keshgarh Sahib, one of the five Sikh religious seats.