Why Do We Celebrate Lohri - The Significance And History
Created by Urvashi Shah Updated on Jan 13, 2020
To the onlooker Lohri may be a festival where a bonfire is lit and people sing and dance, but for the community of Punjab – Lohri is the festival where they celebrate the year’s harvest season by offering prayers to gur, rewri and roasted peanuts to fire God and wishing for a fruitful financial year.
The popular belief is that Lohri is celebrated to end the peak winter season, however, that is not true. In fact, Lohri is celebrated to mark the harvest season of rabi crop and hence a tradition of eating til rice (sweetened sesame rice) along with makki di roti and sarson ka saag.
Celebrated the night prior to Makar Sankranti, on 13th January every year, Lohri comprises of puja and parikrama around the bonfire and distribution of Prasad. This is a festival to offer prayers to fire, for abundant crops and prosperity.
What Is The Significance And History of Lohri?
While the significance of Lohri is to thank Sun deity for the good harvest and to always keep his blessings on the community. The history of Lohri is quite interesting as well. There is a Punjabi folklore according to which there was a man by the name of Dulla Bhatti, whose real name was Abdulla Bhatti. He was a Robin Hood of Punjab and even today considered to be a legend. Regarded as a hero in Punjab, he used to save girls from being forcibly taken to be sold in the slave markets in the Middle East. He also happened to save two girls names Sundri and Mundri who are also being mentioned in the theme song along with Dulla Bhatti. On the occasion of Lohri, women and even children go around singing the traditional song Sunder Mundriye ho, which has mentions of Dulla Bhatti, from house to house in return of some snacks and money.
The festival of Lohri is incomplete without eating sheaves of roasted corn from the new harvest. Sugarcane produce such as jaggery and gajjak are also eaten along with nuts. Other traditional items eaten are sarson da saag,makke di roti, radish, groundnuts and jaggery. It is also traditional to eat sesame sweets infused with jaggery as a part of the celebrations. A bonfire is lit where folk Lohri Goddess is crafted with cattle dung, kindling a fire under it and praises are sung. This bonfire is lit at sunset and people toss sesame sweets and sugar at it, chat, sing and dance until the fire dies out.
The First Lohri Of A New Bride
The first Lohri of a new bride is a special occasion, as it signifies abundance in the newly married couple’s life. Relatives bless the new couple and shower them with their blessings in the form of jewellery or cash. The bride is also gifted new clothes and jewellery by her in laws. Apart from exchanging the sweets, the newly-wed couple take pheras around the bonfire and seek blessings from Lohri Goddess for abundant love in the family. A huge get together is organized by the family where near and dear ones come together for dinner.
The First Lohri Of A New Born
The first Lohri of a new born child is celebrated on a large scale within the family members. The mother and the child are decked up heavily in new clothes. Relatives, elders and friends pour in to bless the mother and the child and wish for their good health. The child’s maternal grandparents offer to the child’s paternal relatives and wish them Happy Lohri.
Celebrated on 13th January every year, enjoy the festival of Lohri with friends and relatives The next day you can engage in kite flying festival along with eating sesame sweets.