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    All About Lohri !

    All About Lohri !

    Lohri is traditionally celebrated with great pomp throughout Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. It’s a festival of worshipping fire. It is to mark the passing of the winter solstice and welcome longer days and the sun’s journey to the northern hemisphere. As Lohri marks fertility, it is very important for newborns and newlyweds. People come together to the bonfire to dance and sing around it and throw popcorn in the flames. They also pray for prosperity, abundance, as well as for a good harvest. The festival is often celebrated in a family circle with a lavish dinner, necessarily including jaggery, gachak, nuts, and radish.

     Lohri is linked to different significant legends but is typically observed a day before the Maghi festival, which is dedicated to the sun deity Surya. Historical references to Lohri are mentioned by European visitors to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1832. Another popular folklore links Lohri to the tale of Dulla Bhatti, a folk hero who supposedly came from the Punjab region and led a revolt against the Mughal rule, during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar. Dulla Bhatti was regarded as a hero for rescuing Hindu girls from being forcibly taken and sold in the slave markets of the Middle East.

    Therefore, along with singing and dancing around sacred bonfires, children go around homes singing the traditional folk songs of Lohri with Dulla Bhatti’s name included. After the song ends, the adults of the home are expected to give snacks and money to the singing troupe of youngsters

    The Origin Of Lohri

    Some people believe that Lohri has derived its name from Loi, the name of the wife of Sant Kabir. Some also believe the term comes from the word ‘Loh’ which means light and warmness of fire. Another belief is that Holika and Lohri were sisters. While the former perished the latter survived in the fire with Prahlad.

    Lohri’s Significance For Farmers

    Lohri holds a vital place in the lives of farmers as well. It is associated with the harvest of rabi crops. Sugarcane products, for example, jaggery, are central to Lohri celebrations, as are nuts that are harvested during this period. The farmers along with their families pray for abundant crop production in the coming year. Punjabi farmers see the day after Lohri as the financial new year. New agricultural tenancies commence on Lohri and rents are collected on this day by the landlords. 

    Rituals During Lohri

    People gather around bonfires, offer sweets, puffed rice and popcorn to the bright flames of Lohri, sing songs and exchange greetings. Lohri rituals are performed, with the accompaniment of special Lohri songs. Singing and dancing form an intricate part of the celebrations. People wear their brightest clothes and come to dance(Bhangra and gidda) to the beat of the dhol. On this day children go from door to door to collect funds for community bonfires which are lit in the evening. In various places of Punjab, about 10 to 15 days before Lohri, groups of teenage boys and girls go around the neighbourhood collecting logs for Lohri bonfire. In some places, they also collect items such as grains and jaggery which are sold and the sale proceeds are divided amongst the group. Kite flying on Lohri is popular in some parts of Punjab, people get onto their rooftops and fly kites of various sizes and colours.

    Importance Of Bonfire On Lohri

    The bonfire ceremony differs depending on the region of Punjab. In some places folk Lohri goddess is made out of cow dung and fire is kindled underneath it and her praises are sung, while in others the Lohri fire consists of cow dung and wood and no reference to the goddess. The bonfire is lit at sunset in the main village square. People toss sesame seeds, jaggery, sugar candy and rewaries in the bonfire, sit around it, sing and dance till the fire dies out. Some people perform a prayer and go around the fire. This is to show respect to the natural element of fire. People also pour milk and water around the bonfire.

    Fun And Frolic On Lohri

    A seasonal favourite, Sarson da saag-cooked mustard greens, and Makki di roti is usually served as the main course at a Lohri dinner. The Sindhi community also celebrates Lohri or Lal-Loi is what it’s known as amongst Sindhis, with great aplomb. Thus Lohri is celebrated with great enthusiasm and engagement everyone, and like all other festivals, it’s a festival that bonds!


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