It is said that festival of Holi has existed for over two thousand years. However, the MEANING of the festival has changed over the years. Earlier it was a PAGAN FESTIVAL of a special rite performed by MARRIED WOMEN for the happiness and well being of their families and the full moon (‘Pooran-Maashee’) was worshiped, marking the new SPRING SEASON. Mythology also associates KRISHAN (whom Hindus revered as a god) with playing with colours and starting the tradition of throwing colours at his child-hood lover Raadha and other gopis (cow-herd maids), who were also his lovers. Gradually, the play gained popularity with the people and became a tradition. This illustrates the MANMAT nature of Holi where men would become playful with women.
ਹੋਲੀ ਕੀਨੀ ਸੰਤ ਸੇਵ ॥
holee keenee sant sayv.
(What is Holi?) I celebrate the festival of Holi by serving the Saints.
ਰੰਗੁ ਲਾਗਾ ਅਤਿ ਲਾਲ ਦੇਵ ॥੨॥
rang laagaa at laal dayv. ||2||
I am (spiritually) imbued with the deep crimson colour of Waheguru’s Divine Love. ||2||
Story of Bhagat Prahlaad jee
The literal meaning of the word ‘HOLI’ is ‘BURNING’. One historical interpretation of Holi is of being originated from the word ‘HOLIKA’. Holika was the name of the Bhua (paternal-aunt) of Bhagat Prahlaad jee. Harnaakash was a powerful king who had earned a lot of spiritual powers through devotion to God, but he became very ego-centred and wanted all his Kingdom to worship him only. He wanted to KILL his son Bhagat Prahlaad jee for worshipping WAHEGURU instead of his FATHER. He was TORTURED in many ways but he didn’t waver. His Bhua (aunt) Holika volunteered to hold Prahlaad in her arms and sit on a FIRE. Holika had a boon (ਬਰ) whereby she could enter fire without any damage on herself. However, she was not aware that the boon worked only when she enters the fire alone. Bhagat Prahlad jee was SAVED and Holika BURNT to ashes. Hindus commemorated this day to celebrate the victory of good over evil.
Meaning of “Holla Mohalla”
Holla Mohalla is a three-day festival that takes places in March, following from the Hindu festival of Holi. “Mohalla” is a Punjabi word that implies an organised 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 Gurdwara to another.
History of Holla Mohalla
Tyrants were ruling the country and the people were oppressed and enslaved, yet society accepted this and instead played games of throwing and squirting colours at each other and the opposite gender. Guru Sahib told his Sikhs wake up to their responsibility and duty as AKAAL PURAKH KI FAUJ (the Army of the Almighty) to defend the TRUTH and PROTECT society. In 1700, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib jee held the first procession at Anandpur. Guru Sahib made Holla Mahalla an occasion for the Sikhs to show their MARTIAL SKILLS in mock battles. Holla Mahalla became an annual event held in an open ground near HOLGARH QILA (fort) at Anandpur sahib. This festival is now replicated in Gurdwara Sahibs throughout the world. The three-day festival includes Keertan Darbaars, talks, exhibitions, tournaments and displays of valour.