What is Lohri Festival ?
Lohri is one of the most popular folk festivals of Punjab in winter. Hindus and Sikhs celebrate it from the Punjab region of the northern part of the Indian. Every year on 13 January Lohri is celebrated. There are lots of legends about the Lohri festival that belong to the link of Punjab region. To commemorate the passing of the winter, solstice people observe this. Traditionally it is associated with the harvest of the rabi crops. In Punjab, there is a huge amount of sugarcane in January month, so some people see it as a festival of harvest. For this reason, Punjabi farmers celebrate the day after Lohri (Maghi) as the financial New Year.
When is Lohri Celebrated ?
Lohri is held every year on 13 January, it marks the ending of winter and having the best time of harvest for crops like sugarcane. Historically it is associated with the Vikrama calendar, and the day before the festival of Maghi calendar in India as Makar Sankranti.
To know when is lohri in this year check All Indian Festivals Calendar .
There are many different folklores about Lohri. It is a festival on which people say goodbye to winter and welcome to the longer, lighter Spring days. The origin of Lohri can be linked to the ancient folktale Dulla Bhatti. Almost when by the end of January’s first week some small group of youngsters knock the door of houses and begin to sing the Lohri song, Dulla Bhatti as the price of their work elders give them sugar, sesame seeds, money, popcorns, etc. It also refers to the region of Himalayan mountains where winter is much colder than other parts of the country. Hindus welcome Lohri by igniting bonfire in their yards; they start singing and dancing around the fire. After finishing the bonfire part people mark Makar Sankranti and for bathing with sacred water go to the river or lake. Lohri is mainly celebrated by saying goodbye to winter and welcoming a long sunny day.
There are some popular legends linked with this ancient festival of Punjab, and they are.
- Dulla Bhatti: Dulla Bhatti is one of them who bears a great significance. This is also a famous festival for couples who for the first time, celebrate it after their marriage. Family members who give birth to the firstborn son also attend the Lohri ceremony with fanfare. Dulla Bhatti or Abdullah Khan Bhatti who was a great warrior of Rajput and the king of Pindi Bhattian. He conducted a famous movement against the Mughal empire. Dulla once saved a beautiful girl from the clutches of the emperor and took her on his fort. For the request of the girl’s father, he married her off with a young Hindu boy and gave one kilo of sugar as a token of the wedding gift. The incident was held in the harvest season and to commemorate the brave and selfless act of Dulla people celebrate Lohri.
- Loi: There is another legend which makes the story more interesting. Loi, the wife of Sant Kabir, people celebrate this festival and woes the name of Loi. Sometimes people pronounce Lohi instead of Lohri and think this is the reason for the name Lohri behind it.
- Sun God: People give thanks to the sun god because of giving them sunlight that helps to grow crops from their land. We know Lohri is celebrated at the end of winter, it is a season when the sun does not give light properly and days are so short. For this reason, people fell hardship, and they have fewer crops in their farms. For celebrating Lohri a few days later, village maidens gather and visit the household of other neighbours. There they ask for cow dung cakes. The girls chant there: ‘We’ve come, all the girls in the village! In other Lohri songs, they mention the sun god and request him for giving them sun heat. They chant the mantra on the honour of sun god and make a bonfire on the last day of the Paus month. The fire they lit during this festival indicates sun god.
Where is Lohri Celebrated ?
In the northern part of India, Lohri is celebrated. Punjab and Hariyana are the specific part of them, but it belongs throughout India where Sikh community exists. There are some places such as Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi in where people celebrate Lohri. To get an exceptional taste of Lohri, one should go Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ludhiana, and Delhi. At present different communities such as Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad also have a practice of celebrating Lohri.
Lohri is a public holiday in the official state of Punjab in India but not in Pakistan. Before the Lohri, people start to prepare themselves. They collect dry wood, sugar, rice from door to door. After that, they make a bonfire and start singing and dancing around it. Here the fire symbolizes the sun god who has returned after a long winter season. The central to the Lohri celebration is sugarcane products like ghur and gachak. Another activity is boys go from door to door for collecting money, sugar, and other ingredients. There they get sweet, money especially the elder’s blessings. Women chant different folksongs on this day. People visit their friends and relatives for exchanging greetings.
Traditional Lohri Song
There are many variations of Lohri songs. But the extraordinary song is Dulla Bhatti song which is a dedication to express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti. The song is mentioned below.
Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicharaa ho!
Dulla 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!
Sipahi ne mari itt!
Bhaanvey rot e bhaanvey pitt!
Sanoo de de Lohri, te tri jeeva Jodi!
(Laugh, cry or howl!)
Like other festivals, Lohri has a special significance. People celebrate it for commemorating their god, and the festival indicates the victory of light over cold. India is a country of diversity, so there are different traditions and cultures. By celebrating Lohri, people say goodbye to the winter and welcome to the long, sunny, warm Spring gracefully.