What is Lohri Festival ?
Festival of Lohri is the most famous festival people of Punjab celebrate in winter. Lohri festival is celebrated on the 13th of January every year with lots of fun and happiness. There are many legends about Lohri that are part of the Punjab region’s connection. Solstice people observe this in order to celebrate the end of winter. Lohri festival is a popular invitation from the Sikhs and Hindus in Punjab to the northern hemisphere for longer days. Traditionally, the harvest of rabi crops is correlated with it. There’s a large amount of sugarcane in Punjab in the month of January, so some people see it as a harvest festival, which is the fruit of their hard work.
The day after Lohri (Maghi) is celebrated by farmers of Punjab as the financial New Year for this reason. With great pleasure, excitement, and enthusiasm, people celebrate it. According to certain tales, the word Lohri has come from the term ‘loh,’ which implies a significant iron frying pan or tava, utilized for making chapattis for network feasts. As indicated by another story, the word is begun from ‘Loi,’ who was the spouse of reformer Kabir Das.
Lohri’s songs note that the god of the Indian Sun asked for heat and thanked him for his return. The festival is explained by other legends as a folk reverence for fire (Agni) or Lohri’s goddess.
When is Lohri Celebrated ?
Lohri is held on the 13th of January each year, marking the end of the winter season and the best harvest time for crops such as sugarcane. This year Lohri festival falls on Wednesday. Lohri is a day off for most of the people in Punjab, especially schools and government employees. Historically, it is aligned with the Vikrama calendar as Makar Sankranti and the day before the Maghi calendar festival in India.
To know when is lohri in this year check All Indian Festivals Calendar .
There is a lot of folklore about Lohri. It’s a festival where people say goodbye to the winter season and welcome the longer, brighter days of the spring season. The earth is closest to the sun at this point in time. The ancient folktale Dulla Bhatti can be connected to the roots of the Lohri festival. Almost when some small groups of young children knock on the door of the houses by the end of the 1st week of January month and begin to sing the Lohri folk song Dulla Bhatti people give them sugar, sesame seeds, money, popcorns, etc. as blessings from their elderly ones.
It also applies to the Himalayan Mountains area, where winter is much colder than other parts of the nation. So this day brings an end to the chilling winter season and welcomes the spring season with beautiful flowers.
By igniting bonfires in their yards, Hindus and Punjabis welcome Lohri. Also, they begin to sing and dance around the bonfire with the family to express their happiness towards this festival. After people are done with the bonfire part, they mark Makar Sankranti and go to the river or lake to bathe with sacred water. By saying goodbye to the winter season and welcoming a long sunny day, Lohri is primarily celebrated.
There are some famous legends associated with this ancient Punjab festival that are listed below:
- Dulla Bhatti: One of the most famous legends associated with the Lohri festival that has great significance is Dulla Bhatti. This is also a renowned festival for newly married couples who celebrate it after their wedding for the first time. The family members who give birth to the firstborn child also participate with fanfare in the Lohri ceremony. Dulla Bhatti or Abdullah Khan Bhatti was a great Rajput warrior and a PindiBhattian ruler. A popular campaign against the Mughal empire was carried out by him. Once, Dulla rescued a beautiful girl from the emperor’s clutches and took her to his fort. He married her to a young Hindu boy, at the request of the girl’s father, and gave her one kilo of sugar as a wedding gift. The incident took place in the harvest season to remember the brave and selfless act of celebrating Lohri by the people of Dulla. So that is the reason why Dulla Bhatti is reflected on this auspicious day.
- Loi: Another legend is there that makes the Lohritale more interesting. The festival is celebrated by Loi, the wife of Sant Kabir, and the name of Loi is woeful. People often pronounce Lohi instead of Lohri and believe this is the reason behind the name Lohri.
- Sun God: People give thanks to the god of the sun for giving them sunlight that allows their land to grow crops. We know that at the end of winter, Lohri is celebrated; it is a season when the sun doesn’t offer proper light and days are so short. People have suffered hardships for this cause, and they have fewer crops on their farms. Some days later, to celebrate Lohri, village maidens gather and visit other neighbors’ households. They call for cow dung cakes there. The girls chant, “We’re here, all the girls in the village!” They mention the god of the sun in other Lohri songs and ask him to give them the heat of the sun. They chant a mantra to praise the god of the sun and make a bonfire on the last day of the Paus month. The fire ignited during this festival signifies the god of the light. God of light is worshipped on this day.
Where is Lohri Celebrated ?
Lohri is celebrated in the northern portion of India. The specific part of them is Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, and Haryana; however, it belongs across India, where the Sikh community exists.
Lohri is an official holiday in the state of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi, where the festival is celebrated by the Hindu and Sikh community.
One should visit Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana, and Delhi in order to get an exceptional taste of the Lohri Festival. There are different kinds of food they can enjoy, which is being prepared on this special day. Various societies like Kolkata, Mumbai, and Hyderabad also have a tradition of celebrating Lohri at present, as it is trendy now.
Traditionally, after the rabi crops are chopped, Lohri is celebrated by lighting a large bonfire in the yards of the houses. Small idols of the goddess Lohri are made of cattle dung and are mounted underneath the light.
In this way, they pray to the god of fire to grace their land with wealth and abundance. Following this, people and their friends and family members exchange greetings and presents, which brings them closer to each other, and they share a stronger bond as well.
In India, Lohri is a public holiday in the official state of Punjab. People are beginning to brace themselves before Lohri. They collect dry wood, sugar, door to door rice. They build a bonfire after that and start singing and dancing around it. The fire here symbolizes the god of the light who came back after a long winter season.
Sugarcane items, such as ghur and gachak, are central to the Lohri celebration. Another activity is by singing Lohri folk songs and then getting money, sugar, and other ingredients by children going door to door. There they get sweets, cash, particularly the blessings of the elderly. On this day, women chant various folk songs. To exchange greetings, people visit their friends and relatives.
Lohri’s harvesting ceremony ends with a delicious meal with lots of food items made by the women of the house. All look forward to the traditional banquet of Makki di roti (hand-rolled bread made of millet), Sarson da saag (cooked mustard greens) &rau di kheer(a dessert made of rice and sugarcane juice) after merry-making during the day.
Traditional Lohri Festival Songs
Lohri songs have many variants. But the incredible album is the Dulla Bhatti song, which is a devotion to Dulla Bhatti’s gratitude. Below the melody is stated.
Dulla Bhatti wallaho!
Dullhe di dheevyayaeho!
Sershakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laalpathakaho!
Kudi da saalupaataho!
Sipahee far kelaigaya!
Sipahi ne mariitt!
Bhaanvey rot e bhaanveypitt!
Sanoo de de Lohri, te tri jeeva Jodi!
Lohri has a special meaning, much like other festivals. It is celebrated by people to commemorate their Deity, and the festival shows the triumph of light over cold. India is a country of diversity, so numerous customs and cultures exist. By celebrating Lohri, people say goodbye to winter and gracefully welcome the long, sunny, warm spring.
The best method to celebrate is to sit around a bonfire and enjoy it in this chilly place. Well, in this cold weather, the Lohri Celebration is the best festival for all your nearest and dear ones to rejoice and spread the warmth of love and happiness.