Lohri - Story And Significance Of The Festival
Lohri is a winter festival that is commonly observed in Punjab and some northern Indian states. It signals the end of the winter solstice and the start of the Sun's northward movement. It is also a harvest festival for Punjabis, as it falls during the Rabi cropping season. The festival is also observed in Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, and Pakistan's Punjab province.
For those who observe Lohri, it is a time for gatherings and celebrations. The Sikh and Hindu sects are the primary celebrants. Every year on the 13th of January, the festival takes place.
History Of Lohri
Lord Vishnu is said to have taken on the form of Lord Krishna during the Dwapara Yuga. At the same time, Kansa's mother attempted to kill Krishna in a variety of ways on a regular basis. When everyone was celebrating the Makar Sankranti festival, Kansa sent the demon Lohita to Gokul to destroy child Krishna. When she attempted to kill child Krishna, the latter killed her with playful acts, and since her name was Lohita, the festival is named after her.
Furthermore, in Sindhi culture, the day is known as Lal Lohri. Lohri meaning pertains to a Hindu festival that is dedicated to Agni Dev. As a result, on this day, people throw beaten paddy, sesame, peanuts, and other foods into the oven. In addition, it is thought that King Daksha's daughter Sati set herself on fire as a result of her husband's mistreatment. As a result, the custom of celebrating this day as Lohri began. Since the Sun is regarded as the greatest source of energy, both the Sun and the Agni (fire) are worshipped on this day.
Lohri Festival - Astrological Beliefs Associated with It
Lohri falls on the 13th of January this year, as it does every year. The night before Makar Sankranti, there are large celebrations (January 14). Maghi or Makar Sankranti is a Hindu festival that commemorates the Sun's passage through Makara or Capricorn. This festival is observed on the day before Maghi, according to the Bikrami/Vikrami calendar (the ancient lunisolar Hindu calendar). The festival is held in the month of Paush, which is determined by the solar portion of the lunisolar Punjabi calendar and falls on January 13 in the Gregorian calendar most of the time.
The winter solstice (the southernmost point in the Sun's travel path) is celebrated on this festival. As a result, it also marks the start of Uttarayan, the Sun's northward journey. In the northern hemisphere, the days grow longer, and the nights grow shorter as Uttarayan progresses. As a result, It is a festival that ushers in the arrival of longer, warmer days. This festival is seen by many as a ‘thanksgiving ritual' dedicated to the Sun God for the abundant winter harvest.
Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, and Christians all participate in Lohri, which is an official restricted holiday in Punjab. It's a night of raucous revelry. Singing, dancing, get-togethers, and lavish meals are all used to mark the occasion. Lohri celebrations are incomplete without people dancing Gidda and Bhangra to the beats of the Dhol. Some sections of the Sindhi community celebrate it as Lal Loi.
A few days before the Festival, preparations will begin. Young boys and girls form groups and sing traditional songs from door to door. Til, gachchak, crystal sugar, jaggery, peanuts, and popcorn would be given to them as a welcome. Lohri is the name given to the collection that is gathered, and it is generally distributed at the festival. Sweets, savoury foods, or money are often given to the kids. It is considered unlucky to return them empty-handed.
A large part of this festival celebration is the lighting of the bonfire. People gather around the bonfire, which is lit at sunset in the main village square. The bonfire is usually made of dried cattle dung and firewood. As an act of reverence to the Fire or Sun God, villagers gathered around will bow their heads and make prayers. Sesame seeds, jaggery, sugar candy, popcorn, peanuts, rewri (a delicacy made from sesame seeds and jaggery), and other items gathered during the daytime are thrown on the bonfire as offerings. People would sing and dance until the fire was extinguished after they had completed these tasks.
Punjabis hold private parties in their homes. The joy of the festivities is amplified in families that have recently experienced a wedding or childbirth. A bride's or a newborn's first Lohri is regarded as particularly auspicious. So, in order to bring the festivities to a new level, these families conduct a number of special rituals.
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Punjabis prepare a wide range of traditional foods and savoury dishes for this occasion. Ingredients obtained at that time of year are typically used in Lohri recipes. Some common Lohri dishes include Makki di roti (hand-rolled millet bread), Sarson da saag (cooked mustard greens), Rau di kheer (rice and sugarcane juice dessert), Tricholi or til rice (made with jaggery, sesame seeds, and rice), Ganne Ki Kheer, Atta Ladoo, Dry Fruit Chikki, Til Barfi, Kurmure Laddoo, and Gajak, radish, groundnuts, and jaggery are all common foods.
Lohri - The Rituals That Make It Special
Lohri is a Hindu festival that honours the Sun God and celebrates the winter harvest (Surya). Many of the rituals connected with it are linked to people's attachment to Mother Nature.
The lighting of the bonfire is a crucial part of the Lohri celebrations. It varies depending on where you are in Punjab. A small image or effigy of the folk Goddess Lohri is burned in some places. The effigy is made of cattle dung and then painted before being lit on fire. People sing praises as they do so. The Goddess is a manifestation of the ancient winter solstice festivities and is an ancient part of the festival. There would be no mention of the Goddess in some places, and the fire would be made of cow dung and wood. As an act of love for the natural element of fire, people gather around it, chant prayers, and make offerings.
As a harvest festival, it also represents the importance of fertility. The traditions include couples praying for children and parents praying for their unmarried daughters. It is a significant occasion for newlyweds and mothers of newborns in Punjabi culture. Families conduct several special ceremonies to celebrate the birth of a child or the coming of a new bride.
Lohri is a harvest festival that is extremely important to Punjabis and Haryana residents. Wheat, corn, sugarcane, mustard, radish, peanuts, and other crops are harvested during this season. It is a Hindu festival that occurs just before the winter crop harvest. Lohri celebrations include eating radish, nuts, roasted corn sheaves, and various sugarcane items such as gurh and gachak. Sugarcane festivals are often held in conjunction with the festivities.
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