Lohri- the festival of fire!
“Sunder mundriye ho!”
If you haven’t heard of this phrase by any of your Punjabi pal, have you even ever met any Punjabi!? The only festival India that doesn’t play the guessing game with us unlike Eid and Holi is Lohri which falls straight on 13th January each year! Celebrated each year in peak winter, the festival is extremely important as it marks the end of the harvest season which is the Rabi season. The Lohri is an important festival for the Sikh community which is celebrated with great enthusiasm. The correct time to harvest crop of sugarcane is mid- January, thus, Lohri is generally regarded as a harvest festival by many. And on the contrary, especially the farmers from Punjab see the day after Lohri which is Maghi as the financial New Year.
How well do you know about Lohri?
Lohri is mainly celebrated In the North Indian regions of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh! Lohri is a long awaited Bonfire festival of North India, a time when people come out of their houses, gather around the Bonfire and start singing folk songs and traditional dancing all around the night. If you are not well aware, then this festival is majorly related with the solar year. It is believed that worshipping fire on Lohri is highly auspicious for the new married couples. It also involves various Pooja’s like Puja Parikrama around the bonfire and then give Prasad to all. This offering symbolizes the spark of life for copious crops and wealth.
Lohri marks the end of the winters and start of a new harvest season by People around India. Though, Bollywood movies had however made people recognize the importance of Lohri, still many remains in misconceptions. Here are few facts about Lohri that you probably won’t know about.
There are several theories behind the name of Lohri, but this derivation is most popular. People believe that ‘Loi’ is Lohri refers to the wife of Saint Kabir whereas other believes that the ‘Loh’ in Lohri means Indian tortillas commonly known as Chapattis. It is believed that the night of Lohri is the longest winter night and also the longest night of the year. Surprisingly, Lohri is the shortest day of the year as well! Many people doesn’t know much about the origin of Lohri, and thus it is a topic of discussion among many scholars. Many of them argue that the origin of lohri can be traced back to the time of Dulla Bhatti as many Lohri songs are centered on the Dulla Bhatti. Dulla Bhatti is remembered as a landlord who dared to stand against the great Mughal Emperor Akbar. He has a great reputation considering the fact that he was a robber who not only was a bandit but also rescued several Hindu women from being forcibly taken to be sold as slaves in the market of Middle East. He then arranged their marriage with the Hindu boys and even paid the dowries himself. Now, this is what we call the ‘Desi Robin hood’ isn’t it?
As Lohri is celebrated during the harvest of sugarcane, many sugarcane products such as jaggery along with sesame seeds plays a crucial role in the celebration. And as the farmers refers the next day of Lohri as financial New Year, it is very important to then on this aspect. People celebrate it with great joy singing folk songs because these songs reflect their gratitude towards the Sun God and in return seek his blessing for the coming year ahead. Also dancing and Gidda, kite flying on Lohri is extremely popular. The most famous folk song sung on Lohri is ‘Sunder Mundriye’ which means Beautiful girls! The song holds great significance in the heart of people as they see it as a song describing the love between a married couples.
More than just a fiesta, Lohri resembles much more to the day of thanksgiving. Apart from Punjab and Haryana, people from other states also celebrate Lohri with loads of cultural festivities. On Lohri, fellas around the country shows their gratitude to God for his purveying, supervision, security and of course his benedictions! Lohri is indeed a day more than just a festival it’s a season which resides in the heart of the people long after it is gone. In fact right from the very next day of Lohri people start waiting for it all over again! And this is enough to prove the significance of this festival.