Lohri (January 13, 2018 Saturday) is a famous Punjabi festival listed among one of the great Indian festivals. It is also known as the harvest festival in Punjab, in Haryana and Himachal. Locals regard it as a welcoming event for the beginning of spring and sendoff time for winter. The aforementioned states are not the only states to celebrate this festival but most of the states of North India Lohri. It falls a day before Makar Sankranti.
Interestingly Lohri is called Makar-Sankranti in north India, Pongal & Sankranti in Tamilnadu and Karnataka respectively with Bihu in Assam and Bhogi in Andhra Pradesh.
What happens in Lohri?
People light up and encircle large bonfires at large open field singing folks dancing and other marry-making Lohri song. Just-married couples circumambulate the bonfire, offering Revadi, Peanuts and popcorn. People engage in dance on the tunes of traditional music with Dhol, manjeera.
Significance: This festival importantly is connected with the solar year, offering farewell to the chilling winter. 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 or the sun god is offered prayers. Married couples gain blessings if they pray to the Sun god early in the morning. It is mainly celebrated to mark the end of the winters and beginning of a new harvest season. Lohri features a Puja Parikrama around the bonfire and distribution of Prasad. Chanting mantras around a bonfire indicates gratitude offered to the Sun God and it is regarded as a formal ritual on this day. The Lohri fire represents tribute to the sun. It is believed that the flames of the bonfire actually carried their prayers offered through mantra chanting to the solar deity. This also amounts to offering prayers to Agni for plentiful crops and prosperity.
Why is it celebrated?
There is a legend behind the celebration of Lohri. The legend is about Dulha Batti who used to rob the wealthy to feed the poor. Children in Punjab at dawn go door to door singing Lohri songs and praise Batti. They receive sweets, popcorn, peanuts, sesame seeds, sugar and jiggery. Some householdes offer money out of love for the celebration by those tender aged children.
Delicious preparations: This unique festival has delicacies at the center. The sweets are sumptuously prepared. Kheer (Rice-Milk Pudding), Revadi (made of Sugarcane Juice), Popcorn and peanuts are popular items that are also associated with bonfire.
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