Parkash Utsav, Holla Mohalla, Maghi Baisakhi or Vaisakhi, Guru Arjun Dev Sahib’s martyrdom day, Parkash Divas, Diwali or Bandi Chod Divas, Guru Nanak Jayanthi, and Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib’s martyrdom day are the most prominent Sikh festivals celebrated with intense religious fervour. On these days of festivities, the Sikhs go to the Gurdwaras to offer prayers and there are also public gatherings while fairs are held.
Guru Purav celebrates the birth of Guru Nanak with lots of diyas, lights, candles and general festivities. They pray for the Divine Light in Parkash Utsav Dasveh Patshah to celebrate the birth of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh and also celebrate the bravery and courage of the forty martyred followers of Guru Gobind Singh who laid down their lives fighting against the powerful Mughal forces. Diwali or Bandi Chhod Divas celebrates the joy of the Sikhs as on this day Guru Hargobind Singh was released from the Gwalior Fort. Holla Mohalla is a famous annual festival of the Sikhs and is held in Anandpur Sahib where it is attended by thousands. Public displays of mock battles, swordsmanship, Sikh martial arts, falconry and horse riding are performed. On the other hand, kirtans are sung in darbars, valour poetry recitation competitions and other religious music are performed that entertains the thousands gathered from all corners of the world.
Maghi Vaisakhi celebrates the origin of Khalsa brotherhood where millions of Sikhs come together for a public mela or parade. People could see long Sikh processions through the streets. They also visit the Gurudwara at dawn with flowers and offerings to pray. Guru Arjun Dev Sahib’s martyrdom anniversary falls in the hot months of June. Thus the Sikhs celebrate this day specially by distributing chilled and sweetened drinks prepared from milk, sugar, essence and water from the Gurudwaras. This drink is for all irrespective of their religious beliefs and social status and through this humble gesture the Sikhs pay their homage to the fifth Guru Arjun Dev who was tortured to death under the orders of Mughal Emperor Jahangir on the basis of some false allegations.