Lohri: The Bonfire Festival 2022
WHAT IS LOHRI? LOHRI MEANING
Lohri (January 13, 2022, Thursday) is a famous Punjabi festival listed among one of the great Indian festivals. Lohri festival is a celebration of the harvest season, the harvesting of the Rabi Crop, in the Punjab region. It is regarded as a celebration to welcome the beginning of the Spring season, the warmth of the Sun, and send off time for Winter. Surya Devta (Sun God), Agni, or Fire are invoked, thanked, and paid reverence to, on the Lohri festival. Community Bonfire, Til(Sesame seeds), Peanuts in their shell, Rohri or Gud, Rice, colorful clothes, folk songs, and dance are integral parts of the Lohri celebration.
WHEN IS LOHRI CELEBRATED?
Lohri festival is celebrated on the last day of the Hindu month Paush. It falls a day before Makar Sankranti, with the Sun starting its Northwards journey and transit into the Sun sign of Makar(Capricorn). In Punjab Makar Sankranti is called Maghi as the Hindu month of Magha or Magh starts on that day. Almost every year, the Lohri festival date is 13 January (as per the Gregorian calendar), just like Makar Sankranti is on 14 January every year. It is also called the Lodi festival.
WHEN IS LOHRI 2022?Lohri 2022 is on January 13, Thursday.
Lohri is Celebrated in which State?
Primarily Lohri festival is celebrated in the state of Punjab. But the states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh also celebrate this joyous festival. And not only these states most of the Northern part of India celebrate Lohri with fervor.
WHY IS LOHRI CELEBRATED? WHAT IS LOHRI CELEBRATED FOR?
Lohri Significance: Lohri festival is connected with the Solar year, offering a farewell to the chilling winter, which the state of Punjab and Northern states of India go through. It is said that the people of the ancient world prayed with Vedic mantras to please the Sun God for protecting them against winter. On this day Fire and the Sun, God are worshipped and following the traditions and rituals prayers and gratitude are offered for the warmth of theSun. The folk songs of Lohri thank Surya Devta, especially for His return with warmth after winter.Scroll Down to read more
The importance of the Lohri festival is also to mark the bountiful harvest of Rabi crops. As the Sun starts moving to the North, the daylight duration and warmth increase which helpsthe seeds of crops sown in fields to sprout, which is a Lohri celebration reason. It marks the beginning of a new financial year for farmers or agriculturists. It signifies prosperity,abundance, fertility, and celebrations by expressing joy for gifts from nature and the Divine. Itis said that the expression of gratitude to the Divine amplifies when we do it by being joyous, happy and the essence of Lohri celebrations is exactly that. Lohri’s significance is also for married couples who gain blessings if they offer prayers to Sun God in the morning.
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HOW IS LOHRI CELEBRATED?
The vibrancy of the Lohri celebration is infectious. The community Lohri Bonfire is a symbol of Lohri festival which is lit at Sunset, along with the earthy Punjabi folk songs filling the air accompanied by Dhol and Manjeera, Bhangra dance performances, cheerful faces, togetherness, and special food is what describes Lohri celebrations. Lohri festival is a celebration that brings people together, meeting, talking, celebrating, praying together which
is a unique aspect of Lohri festival. Lohri Punjabi festival is called Bonfire festival by many, especially by people from foreign lands.
The Lohri fire represents a tribute to the Sun. Lohri features a Puja Parikrama around the Bonfire which is lit in the wide-open fields and distribution of Prasad. Mantras which are chanted around the Bonfire are praises of gratitude offered to the Sun God and it is regarded as a formal ritual on this day. It is believed that the flames of the Bonfire carry their prayers. This also amounts to offering prayers to Agni for plentiful crops and prosperity.
A small idol made out of Cow-dung or Gobar(in local language) representing Goddess Lohri is made and singing Her praises, it is lit with fire.
Women and Men dress up in traditional, colorful clothes and the women wear jewelry and look beautiful. In the evening the Lohri Bonfire is lit, family members, loved ones, relatives, friends gather encircling the Bonfire, which gives warmth in the winter evening. Punjabi Folksongs are sung together. The Dhol (an Indian Drum) beat prompted everyone to participate in dancing. The Lohri songs are in praise and gratitude of Sun God, Fire, and also they singsongs of a legend who was called Dulha Batti.
The men dance the Bhangra and the women dance the Gidda. Til, Gur, Rewari, Sugar-candy(Misri), and Popcorn are tossed into the burning embers of the Lohri Bonfire. Special Punjabi songs, traditional music, and dance performances are also organized. Newly married couples circumambulate the Bonfire, offering Revadi/Rewari, Peanuts and Popcorn, which is a ritualistic tradition of Lohri. The atmosphere is happy and full of mirth and till the Bonfire is on, the festivity goes on. Later everyone eats dishes like Sarson ka Saag, Makki kiRoti, sweets like Gajak, Til Gud Ladoos, Kheer, etc.
A couple of weeks before Lohri, children go from house to house singing praises of Dulha Batti and the people of the house give them peanuts, sugar candy, Til, Gur, and some money.
How to Celebrate Baby's First Lohri?
For newborn children and their parents, the day of Lohri is made special. The mother dresses up in keeping with the occasion and the newborn is also cutely dressed. The mother along with her newborn in her arm is made to sit and friends, relatives shower her with gifts,fruits, and sweets
HISTORY OF LOHRI FESTIVAL
The Lohri history is said to date back to the time when Mughal Emperor Akbar ruled India and the now legendary Dulla Bhatti. The Lohri story narrates the interesting gentleman Dulla Bhatti who was a highway Robber. He used to rob the rich and help the needy with the money or wealth collected. During the reign of Emperor Akbar, Punjabi Hindu women/girls were forcefully being taken to the Middle Eastern countries for selling in the slave market. Dulla Bhatti rescued many such women, got them married to suitable Hindu men, and paid them a dowry too.
Dulla Bhatti also led a revolt against Emperor Akbar and refused to pay tax as this magnanimous Robber refused to consider the Emperor's reign illegitimate. He raised guerrilla war against King Akbar, which made the King/Emperor shift His Imperial capital to Lahore(Pakistan). Later Dulla Bhatti was executed on orders from the Emperor. The Lohri story says that the day he was executed in public, to teach a lesson and instill fear in people. But rather, the women lit Bonfire, sang, and danced around it, in memory of their savior Dulla Bhatti. This became a practice every year which gave birth to the festival of Lohri.
Another interesting fact about Lohri is its name. There are different versions of the story of the meaning of Lohri. It is said that in olden times, the name was Tilorhi, a compound of Til(Sesame) and Rohri meaning Gur. With time, the word came to be pronounced as Lohri.
May the festival of Lohri bring joy to everyone and burn away all that is not good.
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