India is famously called as land of festivals. People from different races, religion, communities co-exist harmoniously. India’s true manifestation of rich culture and traditions are depicted in wide variety of festivals. There are different Indian festivals which are celebrated with much fanfare.
India is a country where every religion and community celebrate their culture through their festivals. Festivals are classified state wise, religion wide and community-wise. Each day is celebration in our country. Let’s have a look at the Lohri festival which is festival of harvest.
Lohri- celebration of abundance, food, harvest, joy and peace and harmony
Concept of Lohri – This festival belongs to state of Punjab. This festival is celebrated in northern part of India. This is celebrated as the new harvest is there and being grateful to nature and showing gratitude towards nature.
Are you aware that Lohri word comes from ‘Tilohri’. It means Til. I.e.seame seeds. Ohri means jaggery or Gur. It is to believed that these ingredients help in cleansing the body, bring renewed energy for new year. That is the reason why food like jaggery, gajak, til ki chikki see offered to fire as way of showing gratitude to nature. Singing and dancing forms an important part of the celebration. People are seen wearing the brightest of clothes and dancing to the tunes of dhol. Ladies perform gidda and sing Punjabi songs. This festival is important for farmers. Festivals give opportunities to spend time with family and friends. January sugarcane harvest is celebrated in the Lohri festival. Sugarcane products like Gur and gacchak are central to Lohri celebrations. The grains and jaggery are sold and sale proceeds are divided amongst the group.
This festival is incomplete without a bonfire, fancy foods, food baskets and dancing to tunes of Bollywood hit chart busters. Do you know why people revolve around the holy bonfire till post-sunset? This is paying gratitude to the almighty for the new harvest and bringing prosperity. People dance to tunes of dhol and enjoy a delicious meal. As part of the harvest ritual, food like black sesame, gajak, Gur, peanuts, and popcorn are fed to fire. Lohri marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
Importance of Bonfire– This is a belief among people that offering food items to God of fire bring prosperity and removes all negativity from life. The Agni symbolizes a bonfire. People seek blessings for happiness, peace, harmony, and prosperity from lord Agni.
Walking around Bonfire – This festival plays an important role in the lives of new brides. It is to be believed that if one walks around the fire on Lohri, then this brings prosperity. Devotees believe that prayers and concerns will receive an immediate answer and life will be filled with positivity.
Harvest festival – Many of our festivals are inspired by harvest as our country initially was agricultural economy. Lohri marks New year for Punjabi farmers. They take the blessings from nature and almighty before the harvesting begins and pray to lord Agni into bless their land with abundance. Chanting of “Aadar aye dilather jaaye” which means may honour comes and poverty finish while moving around the fire.
Relish Winter foods –Any festival is incomplete without winter foods. These foods are cooked and celebrated on this day. On this day, Traditional Punjabi food is being served as sarson da saag and makki di roti, til ki barfi, Gur ki roti, makhane ki kheer, panjiri ki pinni, til ladoo , goondh ladoo and more.
Lohri Festival in Jammu – Lohri festival is also celebrated in Jammu. There are different traditional associated with it. There is tradition of preparing Lohri garlands. They also prepare replica of peacock which is known as chajja. Young children prepare chajja and go from one house to another house celebrating Lohri festival. Special dance is performed known as Hiran dance. Selected houses which have auspicious ceremonies and also prepare mouth watering enables. Children wear garlands which is made of ground nuts, dry fruits and candies on Lohri day.
It is considered inauspicious when children go to each house to collect money and sweets and they come empty-handed. Families who are welcoming newlyweds and new-borns, request for treats also increase.
Children collect Lohri from different households which are in the form of jaggery, til, gacchak, crystal sugar, moongphali, peanuts, and popcorn. Lohri is then distributed at night during the festival. These items are thrown into the fire. Throwing these foods in the fire signifies the burning of the new year and the start of the next year on Makkar Sankranti.
Sindhi community celebrates the Lohri festival as Lal Loi. On this day, children bring wood sticks from their grandparents or aunties and light a fire by burning these sticks at night with people enjoying, dancing, and playing around the fire. Lohri festival is gaining popularity but it is not a traditional festival.
Rare planet wishes you happy Lohri to our readers!