About Lohri Festival
As we all know India is a country of various religions. This diversity can also be seen in the festivals of India. A person with any type of interest in festivals will never feel short in India because Indian festivals have colors of national, religious and seasonal values. In this blog, we will discuss a seasonal Punjabi folk festival ‘Lohri’ which is celebrated on 13th January every year. As in India January is a month of winter so Lohri Festival is seasonal and is as old as Indus Valley Civilization. Lohri is very famous among Sikhs and Hindus from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu region.
Variation of lohri with states
Due to different religions and regions, Lohri is celebrated with different names, customs, and rituals. Its celebration in Tamil Nadu is known as ‘Pongal’, ‘Bhugli Bihu’ in Assam, ‘Bhogi’ in Andhra Pradesh and ‘Sankranti’ in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Kolkata. But one thing is common between all the states and that is, all states like to celebrate Lohri festival with enormous joy.
History and legends
Like all Indian festivals, Lohri also has its historical background and legends. There is a socio-cultural belief behind this festival. According to this belief, there was a tribe ‘Bhatti’, inhabited between a thick forest between Gujranwala and Sialkot during the reign of Akbar. The king of the tribe ‘Dulla Bhatti‘ was a real-life Robinhood who stole the rich and gave to the poor. He was always helpful to needy people. So tribe people loved and respected him. Once Mughal officers wanted to kidnap a girl from his tribe. Dulla rescued her from the kidnappers and got her married to a Hindu boy with a simple ceremony in the forest. He lit the fire according to Hindu customs. Since there was no priest to chant holy mantras, Dulla himself composed a cheerful song which is sung even today. The song is given below:-
Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vichara ho!
Dulla Bhatti wala ho!
Dulle di dhee vyahee ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paata ho!
Saalu kaun samete!
Chache choori kutti! Zamidaara lutti!
Bade bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee fadh ke le gaya!
Sipahee ne mari itt!
Saanu de de lohri, te teri jeeve jodi!
Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pitt!
In the remembrance of that legend, people celebrate Lohri festival every year. There are also many other stories behind Lohri festival
Importance for farmers
Lohri festival is more significant to the farmers. For them, it is not just a festival but a symbol of life because thousands of farmers hope to get golden yield crops. They pray for abundant crop production in the coming year. The day after Lohri is the new year for farmers. The new agricultural tenancies start on Lohri and rents are collected by the landlords.
Read also: Diwali an Indian Festival
Rituals and celebration
The most relaxing thing in a chilly winter is to sit around a bonfire and feel its warmth. Well! People like to celebrate Lohri in the same manner. The preparations of Lohri starts a few days before it. Children go from door to door to collect funds for the community bonfire. While collecting funds children sing folk songs related to Lohri. People give them funds along with peanuts and jaggery. On the day of Lohri, kite flying is a favorite activity among teens. They get onto their rooftops and fly kites. These kites are of different shapes, size and colors.
The competition of kite flying are also held in some places. Bonfire is lit in the evening. People wear their brightest clothes and gather around bonfire to offer peanuts, popcorn and puffed rice to it. They sing songs and exchange greetings. Folk dance (Bhangra and Giddha) performed with great joy on the beat of dhol.
Lohri is more auspicious for the newlywed couples and a newborn baby as it is their first Lohri in the new place. There is no measure of joy and excitement for the Lohri in such houses. New clothes, jewelry, and gifts present to them. Elders give innumerable blessings to the newlywed couples and newborn babies. Guest come and bless both mother and baby.
Importance of bonfire
Traditionally bonfires are lit in the harvested fields. The five prasad items comprise of peanuts, til, gajak, jaggery, and popcorn are offered to the bonfire on Lohri Festival. Except all these people throw sesame (til) seeds in the fire and ask for sons. The belief is, as many as the elder brother’s wife throws, so many sons the younger brother will have. That is why in homes where there is a new-born son or a newlywed man, Lohri is celebrated with even greater passion.
The most famous Lohri food in Punjab is ‘Sarson da saag’ (mustard greens) and ‘Makki di roti’ with butter topping which is delicious and heartwarming. Except these people also like to cook Pindi channe, Gur ki roti, Kheer, Gur ka halwa, Chhole bhature, etc. People exchange Murmura Laddoo, Til ki barfi, Dry fruit chikki, Til ki chikki, etc. with relatives as sweets.
Everyone knows last year was full of problems and difficulties. Humid tribute to those who have lost their loved ones. But there is always light after dark. The festivals are not just celebrated for fun but to fill life with joy and happiness. With the hope that the time to come is full of happiness for all let’s celebrate the festival of Lohri by meeting our loved ones and spreading happiness among them.
I hope you guys like the description of the joyful Lohri festival. There are many more posts like this to come so keep us supporting with your valuable comments and if you like this blog please share with your friends too.
Happy Lohri guys……. Thank you!