Lohri 2021: important things you need to know about Lohri: In the present time, the concept of Lohri is all about bonfire, fancy foods, food baskets, and dancing to the tunes of hit chartbuster. But, do you know the traditional meaning of holy bonfire and why people together take revolve around it post sunset? Well, it has a deeper meaning which is all about paying gratitude to the almighty and dancing to the beats of the dhol and enjoying a scrumptious feast. It is a festival that belongs to the region of Punjab and mostly celebrated in northern part of India.
Lohri winter folk festival celebrated primarily in the Punjab region. The significance and legends about the Lohri festival are many and these link the festival to the Punjab region.. It is believed by many that the festival commemorates the passing of the winter solstice.. Lohri marks the end of winter and is a traditional welcome of longer days and the sun’s journey to the northern hemisphere by Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. It is observed the night before Makar Sankranti, also known as Maghi, and according to the solar part of the lunisolar Bikrami Calendar and typically falls about the same date every year.
According to folklore, in ancient times Lohri was celebrated at the end of the traditional month when winter solstice occur. It celebrates the days getting longer as the sun proceeds on its northward journey. The day after Lohri is celebrated as Maghi Sangarnd.
Lohri is an ancient mid-winter festival originating in regions near the Himalayan mountains where winter is colder than the rest of the subcontinent. Hindus traditionally lit bonfires in their yards after the weeks of the rabi season cropping work, socialized around the fire, sang and danced together as they marked the end of winter and the onset of longer days. After the night of bonfire celebrations, Hindus would mark Makar Sankranti and go to a sacred water body such as a river or lake to bath.
Lohri is celebrated with a bonfire. The lighting of bonfire during this winter festival is an ancient tradition.In Punjab, the harvest festival Lohri is marked by eating sheaves of roasted corn from the new harvest.Sugarcane products such as gurh and gachak are central to Lohri celebrations, as are nuts which are harvested in January. The other important food item of Lohri is radish which can be harvested between October and January. Mustard greens are cultivated mainly in the winter months because the crop is suitable to the agro-climatic conditions.Accordingly, mustard greens are also a winter produce. It is traditional to eat Gajak, Sarson da saag with Makki di roti, radish, ground nuts and jaggery.
- Chajja Dance and Hiran Dance
- Collecting Lohri Items.
One of Veer Zaara’s most popular songs Lodi re-popularised the tradition of dancing and singing as everyone circles the bonfire. Not just in Punjab, but other parts of North India, people celebrate by charring wood and playing songs on the radio.
Concept of Lohri
Many of us are not aware that the word Lohri comes from ‘Tilohri’ i.e. ‘til’ meaning sesame and ‘rorhi’ meaning jaggery/gur. Eventually, the festival was just referred to as Lohri. It is believed that these both food ingredients help cleanse the body, bringing renewed energy for the New Year. That’s why foods like jaggery, gajak, til ki chikki are offered to the fire as a way of paying gratitude to nature.
Importance of bonfire
It is believed that offering food items to the God of Fire on this day helps take away all negativity from life and brings in prosperity. Here, the bonfire symbolises Lord Agni. After offering food to the almighty, people seek blessings, prosperity and happiness from Lord Agni.
Walking around the bonfire
It is also believed that if one walks around the fire on Lohri, it helps in bringing prosperity. In Punjab, this festival holds special value for the new brides. Many devotees believe that their prayers and concerns will receive an immediate answer and life will be filled with positivity
Why to celebrate Lohri?
The harvesting period is a season of cheer and celebration, especially in the farming community. Farmers get together to thank Surya (the Sun God), for the blessing of heat and warmth that enabled the wonderful harvest – reward for their long months of hard work.
We are all indebted to the farmers for their painstaking efforts all year round without which we would not be able to eat or live. It is as much a mark of respect and recognition to the farmers as a celebration of a bountiful and prosperous year of harvest, that the festival of Lohri is celebrated.
Legend Behind the celebration of Lohri
As is true with every festival, there are a few legends behind how Lohri originated:
- It is believed to be an occasion to celebrate Agni, the God of Fire, and to worship Surya, the Sun God.
- There is the story of Dulla Bhatti, a Muslim bandit who lived during the era of Mughal Emperor Akbar (some say Jahangir). He rescued Hindu maidens from being sold as slaves to the Middle East. He would get them married to Hindu boys in the presence of fire and sing songs in celebration. Thus, began the tradition of the Lohri bonfire. Two maidens named Sundri and Mundri, who were so rescued are included as part of Lohri folklore, Sunder Mundriye. Songs hailing this hero and his brave feats are still sung today.
- Folklore is that Holika and Lohri were sisters. Holika perished in the Holi fire while Lohri lived on.
- It is also believed that since ‘loh’ means light and warmth of the fire, Lohri was derived from that.
- Since til (sesame seeds) and rorhi (gud or jaggery) are traditionally eaten at this time, a combination of the two – tilrorhi came to be known as Lohri over time.
Special Songs on Lohri
Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicharaa ho!
Dullah Bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paata ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chacha gali dese!
Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!
Bum Bum bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari itt!
Paanvey ro te paanvey pitt!
Sanoo de de Lohri, te teri jeeve jodi!
(Laugh, cry or howl!)
Who will think about you
Dulla of the Bhatti clan will
Dulla’s daughter got married
He gave one ser of sugar!
The girl is wearing a red suit!
But her shawl is torn!
Who will stitch her shawl?!
The uncle made choori!
The landlords looted it!
Landlords are beaten up!
Lots of simple-headed boys came!
One simpleton got left behind!
The soldier arrested him!
The soldier hit him with a brick!
(Cry or howl)!
Give us Lohri, long live your pair (to a married couple)!
Whether you cry, or bang your head later!
“May this festival of zeal and verve fill your life with lots of energy and enthusiasm and may it help you bring happiness and prosperity to you and your loved ones. Happy Lohri!”