Holi & Hola Mohalla - India { 45 images } Created 28 May 2019

This exhibit features two distinct cultural traditions in India. The first is the Hindu celebration of Holi and the second the Sikh Festival of Hola Mohalla.
The Holi festival commemorates the victory of good over evil, particularly the burning and destruction of a demoness named Holika. This was made possible with the help of Hindu god of preservation, Lord Vishnu.
Holi got its name as th e "Festival of Colors" from the childhood antics of Lord Krishna, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, who liked to play pranks on the village girls by drenching them in water and colors. Holi traditions vary in different parts of India and these images were taken in the state of Uttar Pradesh in the towns surrounding Barsana where Lathmaar Holi is celebrated. The men from the neighboring town of Nandgaon visit the town of Barsana every year, only to be greeted by sticks (lathis) of the Barsana women who beat them. However, the next day the men of Barsana invade the town of Nangaon where they drench the Nanaon women with in colors of kesudo, naturally occurring orange-red dye but who fight back with sticks.
Unlike Holi, when people playfully sprinkle colored powder, dry or mixed in water, on each other, Hola Mohalla is an occasion for the Sikhs to demonstrate their weapon skills in simulated battles. On this three-day grand festival, mock battles, exhibitions, display of weapons are held. 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. Holla Mohalla is celebrated to reaffirm fraternity and brotherhood and reminding people of "valor and defense preparedness", concepts very dear to the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh ji.
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