Jan 132014

lohri festival

In India the beginning of a new year is followed with one of the most popular and celebrated festivals known as Lohri. The festival has a deep rooted connection with the ancient cultures and traditions of India. There are numerous tales from the past that can be put together for the origin of this festival. On the eve of this festival people gather around a bon fire and celebrate while dancing and singing traditional songs. The festival is generally celebrated on January 13th mostly around the northern provinces of the country like Punjab and the states neighboring it. Let’s take a look at some more interesting facts about Lohri.

6. The Punjabi Lohri is celebrated with the greatest fervor and pom:

The festival of Lohri is best celebrated in the state of Punjab. According to Punjabi traditions the festival marks the beginning of the harvesting season at the end of winters. On this festival night family members, relatives and neighbors come together and perform bhangra and giddas around a bon fire. Dinner comprises of traditional preparations, ending the meal with several sweets. People exchange sweets just like Diwali and young lads go from door to door dancing on the beats of bhangra asking for Lohri gifts.

5. New Bride Lohri – the bride brings with her promise of success and prosperity:

Especially in North India, the first Lohri a bride celebrates with her husband’s family is considered very special. Her presence makes the occasion more majestic with bridal dressing as she accompanies her husband who is dressed in colorful turban (of course if he’s a Serd). The newlywed couple is the center of attraction and is gifted with clothes and jewelry from their in-laws. Receiving blessing from elders, the new bride promises to bring success and prosperity to her new family. As a new member of the family, the new bride performs gidda (a traditional female dance of Punjab) with her in-laws around the bon fire.

4. Origin of the word Lohri – introspecting numerous theories:

There are various stories that direct us to the origin of the word “Lohri.” Some believe that the festival got its title from the wife of Sant Kabir called Loi. Whereas, some stories state that the name of this festival was developed from til and rohri (til & rohri shortened as Lohri) which are considered as an important part of the sweet dishes on this day. According to the Hindu mythology, Lohri was the sister of Holika who survived with Parladh. The word Lohri is also believed to have an origin from the word regional word loh which means warmth and light of fire.

3. The tale of Dulla Bhatti and its connection with Lohri:

The festival of Lohri is often related to the legend of Dulla Bhatti who was a heroic character during the Mughal Empire. As the Robin Hood of Punjab province, Dulla once rescued a young from kidnapers and adopted the girl as her daughter and made all possible formalities for her marriage. Similar to this, there were several other incidents that described the great heroic character of Dulla Bhatti. In the present times, the festival of Lohri is celebrated in honor of Dulla Bhatti with folk songs describing his brave saga.

2. Lohri for Farmers – Lohri celebrations for them marks the coming of spring:

Punjab, being the wheat bowl of India, the festival of Lohri has a real meaning to the farmers of this state. They regard the festive day as the winter solstice and a beginning of spring season. On this day, bon fires are done at almost every place signifying the end of winters. Farmers relate the festival with harvesting of crops like rabi and by gifting sweets or money to the poor folks, they pray that the upcoming season will bring prosperity of their lives.

1. Lohri is dedicated to fire and the Sun God:

A festival essentially dedicated to the fire and the sun God, Lohri is associated with the concept of life and health in the Hindu religion. On the one hand it represents the sun with the rays and on the other gold. During this time the sun transits from the zodiac sign Capricorn and moves north. This new configuration lessons the impact of winter, replenishing its warmth. The bon fire is also lit to ward off the cold winds and welcome the spring warmth. This is the reason why the bonfire is worshipped and venerated as a deity. People propitiate the fire by offering peanuts, popcorn, and sweets.

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