The festival of Lohri is meant to be celebrated on the winter solstice. Day after Lohri, day light is meant to increase; people believe it brings a pleasant morning of hope. It is a harvest festival that Sikhs passionately celebrate. It is the festival of Punjab and Haryana. The celebrations of Lohri start early in the morning, and people wish each other great enthusiasm. Let’s learn more about this festival.
The main aim of celebrating Lohri
The festival of Lohri is also linked with the Bikrami calendar and is twinning with Makar Sankranti, which is celebrated in the Punjab region as Maghi Sangrand. Lohri is celebrated to memorialize the passing of the winter solstice. This festival is celebrated to welcome the new financial year of farmers through Bikrami Calendar. New agricultural tenancies are about to start on Lohri, and rents are collected on this day; that is why it is celebrated as the new financial year.
Lohri is the most famous festival of Punjab and Haryana, but it is now widely celebrated by Hindus too. This festival is popularized at a large scale among the different areas and regions of our country, and everyone celebrates with great joy and enthusiasm. Lohri is just like a thanksgiving festival as the farmers on Lohri show their gratefulness to the almighty for good abundance and rich harvest.
- During the day, children go door to door singing folk songs and are given sweets, savories, and occasionally money.
- Turning children back empty-handed is regarded as inauspicious. The collection consists of til, crystal sugar, gajak, jaggery, peanuts, and popcorn.
- The collections gathered by children are known as Lohri, distributed among all the people at night.
- People light the bonfire, and then the Lohri distributed among people is thrown into the bonfire along with other food items like peanuts, jaggery, etc. They all enjoy the Lohri night by sitting and singing Lohri songs together.
- The Lohri night ends with a traditional feast of Sarson da saag, Makki di roti, and kheer.
- On this day, kite flying is also popular in some parts of Punjab.
Lohri songs and their importance
Lohri songs play an important role in the event’s celebration as these songs represent the joy and excitement inside a person. These songs are being enjoyed by every person celebrating Lohri. They sang and danced form an important part of the celebration. These songs are like traditional folk songs sung to thank god for the rich harvest and abundance. The Lohri songs are also sung to commemorate the Punjabi warrior Dulla Bhatti. People wear their brightest clothes and come to dance the bhangra and gidda on the beats of the dhol. The dance program over the beat of dhol is carried out around the bonfire.
Over time, people correlated Lohri to the tale of Dulla Bhatti. The central character of many Lohri songs is Dulla Bhatti, who lived in Punjab during the tenure of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Many people also mention the Robin Hood of Punjab – Dulla Bhatti, to pay tribute. He robbed the rich and rescued poor Punjabi girls who were forcibly taken to be sold in the slave market. Amongst them were two girls, Sundri & Mundri, who deliberately became the theme of Punjab folklore. So, Lohri songs are sung to owe respect to him for the services he had rendered during his lifetime.
Lohri in other parts of India
In Andhra Pradesh, the day before Makar Sankranti is known as Bhogi. On this day, all the old and derelict things are discarded, and new things causing change or transformation are brought into focus. At dawn, a bonfire is enlightened with logs of wood, other solid fuels, and useless wooden furniture at home. Only worldly things are not disposed of; along with these things, all evil habits and thoughts are to be sacrificed in the sacrificial fire of the knowledge of Rudra, known as the Rudra Gita Gyana Yagya. It represents the purification and transformation of the soul by guzzling and inculcating divine virtues.