Friday, 25 April 2008

Virginie Vican: Hola Mohalla

Photograph © Virginie Vican-All Rights Reserved

Virginie Vican is a French photojournalist specializing in culture and exotic communities. She worked on projects in Cyprus, Uzbekistan, Egypt and India, which were published in various magazines such as Le Monde, La Vie, and Le Minotaure.

She photographed the ancient Sikh festival of Hola Mohalla that is celebrated in the month of Phalguna (around March or April). This festival is for Sikhs to reaffirm their commitment to the brotherhood of man and their dedication to the Khalsa Pantha.

Colorful processions mark the festival of Hola Mohalla, when Sikhs dress up in traditional martial costumes (especially the Nihangs or the "Order of the Blue-Clad Farmer-Warriors") and celebrate the day with archery, fencing, horse riding and shooting contests.

The Nihangs are the guardians of the warrior Sikh traditions, and they literally roam across Punjab. It's a life dedicated to prayer, the practice of martial arts, and to the protection of the Sikhs.