Festivals are the essence of Indian culture, we Indians just loves celebrating, and as a result we end up having a festival for the each month of the whole year. As January it is, therefore LOHRI is the main festival for us Indians especially for us Punjabis.
The festival of Lohri marks the end of winter by worshiping fire. The lighting of the fire signifies the return of longer days. Lohri involves a Puja Parikrama around the bonfire and distribution of Prasad. This symbolizes a prayer to Agni, the spark of life, for abundant crops and prosperity. The first Lohri of a new born child and a newly-wed bride is considered very auspicious.
Bollywood has helped a lot in promoting the festival through its various songs and performances but there is much more to know about Lohri such as:
1. Lohri marks the end of winter on the last day of Paush and beginning of Magha, which is exactly when the sun changes its course. It is believed that the Lohri night is the coolest night of winters as it is also the longest night of the year and ironically it is also the shortest day of the year too! It is amazing to know how our ancestors were so accurate about dates and times without even a bit of technology.
2. The festival of Lohri is often related to the legend of Dulla Bhatti, who was a heroic character during the Mughal Empire. As the Robin Hood of Punjab province, Dulla once rescued a young girl from kidnappers and adopted her as a daughter and made all possible formalities for her marriage. Similar to this, there are other tales that describe the heroism of Dulla Bhatti. In the present times, the festival of Lohri is celebrated in honor of Dulla Bhatti with folk songs describing his brave saga.
3. The festival of Lohri has a real meaning to the farmers of Punjab, for the state is the wheat bowl of India. They regard the festive day as the end of winter and beginning of spring. Traditionally, January is the time period to harvest sugarcane crops. And sugarcane products such as jaggery and gachak are essential to Lohri celebrations.
4. It’s a cheerful get together around the bonfire and people throw puffed rice and til/sesame seeds into the fire, chanting “til patt ke, din sad ke” which means ‘may honor come and poverty vanish’.
5. In fact the reason why folk songs are sung during Lohri is to thank the Sun God and to seek his continued protection for the coming year. Apart from dancing and Gidda, kite flying on Lohri is also very popular.
6. Lohri has been derived from various sources such as from Loi, who was the wife of Sant Kabir, for in rural Punjab Lohri is also pronounced as Lohi. Others also believe that Lohri comes from the word loh, which is a thick iron sheet tawa which is also used for making chapattis.
Therefore, Lohri is festival which is celebrated with all love, joy, laughter, romance, care, much dancing, and undoubtedly food. It’s a correct dose for enjoyment in chilling winter and to have a luxury time with your loved ones. So, Happy Lohri to everyone.
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