11 Aspects of Hola Mohalla Festivities

Virtual Sikh Marital Arts Holiday

Enjoy this virtual Sikh martial arts Hola Mohalla holiday. festivities feature fearless Nihang crocodiles, spirited warrior princesses on parade, gatka weaponry displays and demonstrations, fancy foot work, whirling and twirling, sword dancing, serious sparring, and horsing around.

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What is Hola Mohalla?

Singh Approches Shaster Weaponry With Traditional Bravado
Singh Approches Shaster Weaponry With Traditional Bravado. Photo © [Manprem Kaur]

Hola Mohalla is a week long Sikh martial arts festival held annually in Anandpur Sahib, India. Sikhs around the world also celebrate Hola Mohalla locally where ever they live. Festivities include demonstration of skill with weapons and horses, displays of weaponry, and at week's end often may conclude with a parade.

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When is Hola Mohalla?

Nihang Singhs at Anandpur Hola Mohalla Festivities
Nihang Singhs at Anandpur Hola Mohalla Festivities. Photo © [Courtesy Balbir Singh]

Hola Mohalla Sikh martial arts festivities coincide with celebrations held during the week of Holi a popular Hindu spring festival in India. Hola Mohalla the annual week long Sikh historic holiday is observed during the month of March on a different date each and every year. Hola Mohalla celebrations in the West may occur on the actual date, or on the closet most convenient weekend. Consult current year Sikh events calendar to determine the actual date, or regional gurdwara calendars for local Hola Mohalla activities.

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Hola Mohalla Parade Exhibition Gallery

Gatka Troupe Salute During Hola Mohalla Exibition
Gatka Troupe Salute During Hola Mohalla Exibition. Photo © [Khalsa Panth]

An all day parade is the grand finale of week long Hola Mohalla festivities. Thousands of participants and spectators enjoy traditional features including floats, interspersed with astonishing demonstrations of gatka, and displays of weaponry.

Annual Sikh parades like Hola Mohalla are exciting events charged with energy and reverence. A float bearing the holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib is at the head of all Sikh parades and is followed by a variety of floats. For the best possible Hola Mohalla experience know what to expect:

  • 5 Items that you won't want to be without at a Sikh parade make fun filled festivities even more enjoyable when you take them along.
  • 10 pointers for an amazing Sikh parade experience include proper protocol and attire for participants and spectators, where to park, shop, and partake of langar free food.
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Hola Mohalla Gatka Demonstrations

Gatka Sword Dance at Hola Mohalla Martial Arts Parade
Gatka Sword Dance at Hola Mohalla Martial Arts Parade. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Gatka the Sikh martial art sword dance involves fancy foot work and skillful maneuvers combined with leaps as opponents spar during Hola Mohalla demonstrations. Novices train with blunt gatka sticks before graduating to dueling with sharpened swords.

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Hola Mohalla Shastar Weaponry

Gatka Troupe Shastar Weaponry
Gatka Troupe Shastar Weaponry. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Demonstrations of skill with all types of shastar weaponry is a popular feature of Hola Mohalla festivities. Shastar weaponry is displayed in collections of ancient weapons traditionally used by ancient Khalsa warriors along with modern, and ceremonial weaponry used by Gatka troupes.

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Hola Mohalla Chakar Spinning

Hola Mohalla Chakar Gatka Display Gurdawara San Jose
Hola Mohalla Chakar Gatka Display Gurdawara San Jose. Photo © [Manprem Kaur]

Skillful whirling of a chakar while marching in the Hola Mohalla parade is a popular attraction. Male and female adults, youth, and even very young children may excel at chakar spinning, and all train in types of Sikh marital arts weaponry.

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Hola Mohalla Nihang Warriors

Nihang Singhs Preparing for Hola Mohalla
Nihang Singhs Preparing for Hola Mohalla. Photo © [S Khalsa]

Nihang warriors, known as the crocodile's of Punjab, are an ancient sect of Sikhism dating back to the time of Tenth Guru Gobind Singh, founder of Hola Mohalla. Nihang bravery is at the very heart of Hola Mohalla festivities where they show off their skill in Gatka martial arts, swordsmanship, and horsemanship, all the while outfitted in the  traditional attire of the Sikh warrior.

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Skillful Riders Show Hola Mohalla Spirit on Horseback

Singh Astride 3 Horses at Hola Mohalaa
Singh Astride 3 Horses at Hola Mohalaa. Photo © [Courtesy Jagjeet Singh / Balbir Singh]

Nihang feats of spectacular horsemanship combined with weaponry are popular attraction during Hola Mohalla. Riding three horses all at once is more difficult than it appears! Such a feat takes a great deal of skill along with focused training, as well as willing horses with a cooperative temperament.

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Hola Mohalla Spirited Warrior Princesses

Warrior Princess on Horseback at Hola Mohalla
Warrior Princess on Horseback at Hola Mohalla. Photo © [Courtesy Manprem Kaur]

Zealous kaurs show the courage of a lioness when sparring with partners in Hola Mohalla festivities. Spirited warrior princesses are keen to train in gatka martial arts, shastar weaponry, and horseback. The bravery of illustrious Sikh women is exemplified throughout Sikh history.

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Hola Mohalla Little Warriors

Little Singh Demonstrates Skill with Swinging Mace
Little Singh Demonstrates Skill with Swinging Mace. Photo © [Manprem Kaur]

Participants of all ages show off their skill at Hola Mohalla festivities. Kids of every age enjoy watching the martial spirit and courage displayed by little singhs and singhnis. Even the littlest ones in arms are fascinated by the demonstrations of other older children trained in the sport of gatka and are eager to emulate them as soon as they are developmentally able. Sikh children often begin training with weapons as soon as they are able to walk. 

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Hola Mohalla Free Langar

Sugar Cane at Hola Mohalla
Sugar Cane and Cuties at Hola Mohalla. Photo © [Manprem Kaur]

As with every Sikh event, free langar is among the many features of Hola Mohalla festivities. Fresh sugar cane juice is a tasty tradition popular in Punjab. Many Western gurdwaras are equipped with sugarcane presses and offer the treat to all takers during annual celebrations.