In this article, we have published an Essay on Lohri Festival, Date, Importance, and Celebrations ceremonies.
Introduction (Lohri Festival of Punjab, India)
Lohri is a famous Punjabi folk festival which is celebrated in winter mainly by the Sikhs and Hindus belonging from Punjab in the Northern part of the Indian subcontinent.
It is held on January 13 every year. There is a lot of significance and legends about the Lohri festival.
It connects the festival to the Punjab region. Many believe that the festive winter has passed. Lohri marks the end of winter where Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent have long welcomed the sun and the traditional journey to the Northern hemisphere.
It is the night before the Capricorn, also known as the Maghi, and according to the solar portion of the lunisolar Bikrami calendar; it usually falls on the same date every year (January 13).
Lohri is an official controlled holiday in the Punjab state of India. Although it is not considered as a holiday in the Punjab state of Pakistan, however, Sikhs and some Muslims have noticed this in the Punjab of Pakistan.
Date of Celebration
In 2021, Lohri is celebrated on 13 January, Thusday.
The Lohri is linked to the Bikrami calendar and is celebrated the day before the Maghi festival, which is celebrated as the Maghi Sankranti in India. Lohri falls in the month of Push and is set by the solar portion of the lunisolar Punjabi calendar. In many years it falls on the 13th of the Gregorian calendar.
There are so many folktales about Lohri. Lohri means more days after winter. According to folklore, in ancient times the Lohri was celebrated at the end of the traditional month with the advent of the winter season. It celebrates with the days getting longer as the sun travels north. Lohri is celebrated the next day as Maghi Sangrand.
With it comes to the origin, Lohri is an ancient winter festival, located in the vicinity of the Himalayan Mountains, where winter is colder than the rest of the subcontinent. After the Rabi Season harvest work, the Hindus traditionally lit bonfires in their yards socialized around the fires, and sing and dance together.
This happens with the end of winter nights and the beginning of the next day. After the bonfire ceremony, the Hindus go to the sacred reservoir, such as a river or lake, to bathe in remembrance of Makar Sankranti.
A Punjabi woman waiting to take part in Gidda
However, instead of celebrating Lohri when the Winter Wallpapers occur, Punjabis celebrate it on the last day of the month, to commemorate the passing of the Lohri winter.
Importance of Lohri festivals
The ancient significance of the festival is the celebration of the winter harvest season and the memory of the sun goddess (Surya). The Lohri songs are a tribute to the Indian sun god asking for sending the heat. Other legends describe the ceremony as a folk devotion to the goddess Agni (Agni) or Lohri.
Another folk tale combines the story of Lohrini Dulla Bhatti. This includes the main theme of many Lohri songs; the legend of Dulla Bhatti and the Mughal emperor Akbar while they lived in Punjab during the reign of Akbar. He was considered a hero in Punjab for saving Hindu girls from being forced to sell in the slave market in the Middle East.
Among those, he rescued two girls, Sundri & Mundri, who gradually became the theme of Punjab folklore. As part of the Lohri celebrations, children wandered around the house singing Lohri’s traditional folk songs titled “Dulla Bhatti”.
One person sang the other songs that lines “Ho!” Sung in unison. After the song was over, the elders of the house are expected to give snacks and money to the youth singing group.
Celebrations of Lohri Festival
Bonfire and festive foods
Lohri is celebrated with bonfires. It is an ancient tradition to light bonfires at this winter festival. The traditional festive sweetener of solid and unrefined cane juice.
In Punjab, the crop festival Lohri is marked by eating sheets of roasted corn from the new crop. January cane harvest is celebrated at the Lohri festival. Sugarcane products such as horses are central to the Lohri celebrations, with the seeds planted in January.
The other important ingredient of Lohri is radish, which is harvested between October and January. Mustard greens are mainly grown in winter because the crop is suitable for agro-climatic conditions. Accordingly, mustard greens are also a winter product. It is traditional to eat gacac, sarso da sag, Makki di roti, radish, groundnuts, and jaggery. It is also customary to eat “til rice” made by combining jaggery, sesame, and rice. In some cases, this dish is called ‘Tricoli’.
During the day, children go to the house singing folk songs. These children are given sweets and delicacies and occasionally given money. It is considered evil to return them with empty hands. When families are welcoming newlyweds and newborns, the requests for dinners are on the rise.
The collections of children are called Lohri and include til, Bachchan, crystal sugar, jaggery, mungfali (peanuts) and popcorn. Lohri is been distributed at night during the festival. Until then, peanuts, popcorn, and other foods are also burned. For some, throwing food into the fire signifies the burning of the old year and the start of the next year of Capricorn.
The bonfire celebration is different depending on the location in Punjab. In some passages, a small image of the goddess Folk Lohri is adorned with gobar (cattle manure), and under it a torch is lit, praising her. The folk Lohri goddess is believed to be the oldest aspect of this celebration and is part of a long tradition of winter wallpaper ceremonies, which appears to be a god or a goddess. In other parts, the Lohri fire contained cow dung and wood, not to mention the deity of Lohri.
The bonfire is usually started at sunset in the prime area of the village. People make revivals on sesame seeds, horse, sugar-candy and bonfires; sitting around it, singing and dancing until the fires are dead. Some even pray and turn around the fire. It is a tribute to the natural element of fire that is common in winter wallpapers. It is traditional to serve guests with til, gur, mungfali (peanuts) and/or popcorn. Hindus pour milk and water around the bonfire to thank the sun god and seek his continued protection.
In some sections of the Sindhi community, the festival is traditionally celebrated as Lal Loi. Lal Loi children bring wooden sticks from their grandparents and aunties and light the fire that burns the sticks at night. The festival is gaining popularity in other Sindhis which is not a traditional Lohri festival.
Lohri ceremonies and Dance celebrations
In recently married or childbirth homes, Lohri ceremonies do add excitement. Punjabis usually hold private Lohri ceremonies in their homes. Lohri rituals are performed along with special Lohri songs.
Singing and dancing are an integral part of the celebrations and people wear bright clothes and come to Dhol’s throat to dance the Bhangra and Gidda. Punjabi songs are been sung and enjoyed by all. Sarso da Saag and Makki di Roti are usually served as a main course at the Lohri dinner.
Lohri is a great occasion for farmers. Even people living in urban areas also celebrate Lohri because this festival provides an opportunity to interact with family and friends.