Punjab’s festival of harvest is the Lohri festival. The traditions, customs and celebrations of Lohri are worth reading about. Lohri’s origin and history are great to inquire about. Lohri is very important for Punjabis and a bon-fire is lit, around which these people sing and dance. Dulha Batti is praised by these songs.
The festival of harvest is Lohri, celebrated in Punjab. Lohri is celebrated by Punjabis, but some other states of North India also celebrate it, such as Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. It is Punjab’s famous festival of harvest, celebrated with a merry feeling and great magnificence.
History of Lohri
Lohri has an ancient history behind it. It is celebrated at winters’ end and at the starting of New Year and spring season. Lohri is believed to be the night which is the year’s longest. After this, the days get longer and nights become shorter.
Lohri is held in the memory of Dulha Batti. Dulha Batti - a robber of Islamic background and lived at the time of Akbar. Though being a robber, he was a nice man. He stole in order to distribute the stolen items of rich to poor. He saved the kidnapped girls. He made arrangements of young girls’ marriages along with Hindu lads and he also paid their dowries. The Punjabis there cared and honored him, as they considered him their hero. Most of the songs of Lohri praise Dulha Batti and shows their thankfulness and appreciation towards him.
Lohri is celebrated at the time when sun moves to north, called Uttarayan, opposite to south, called Dakshinayan. This festival is considered highly fortunate time- the sun from the Tropic of Cancer enters into the Tropic of Capricorn. This festival is devoted to Fire and God of Sun.
How Lohri Got its Name
Many suppositions are there on the name of Lohri that how it was adopted. Few have a belief that it is deduced from the name of Sant Kabir’s wife, Loi. Another set of group had a belief that it comes from an appliance’s name, i.e. Loh used in communal parties for producing chapattis. Few have a belief that this festival got its name from ‘Lohri’ – Holika’s sister. It is considered that Holika died of fire burns but Lohri survived. While another had a belief that, rorhi and til, the two things are joined together and it became tilorhi, ultimately becoming Lohri.
As other festivals do, Lohri also unites family, their friends and also relatives. People greet and distribute sweets among them on this festival of Lohri. Being a festival of harvest it is of great importance to farmers but also celebrated among Punjabis with great zeal. On Lohri festival, bon-fire is lit and people do dance round it. Singing and dancing round it are part of this while throwing popcorns, gur, rewaries, sugar-candy etc. in fire. By wearing vibrant clothes, people do Bhangra/Gidda to the Dhol’s beat. For the farmers, the festival of Lohri is the starting of other fiscal year.
Punjabis in other Indian cities too celebrate this festival of Lohri. For example, in Mumbai, Punjabis celebrate this festival by lighting a bon-fire.
The First Lohri
The day of Lohri is very important for newly married and newly born babies.
First Lohri of a New Bride
By wearing bangles, fresh clothes, bindis, applying mehendi on hands, the newlywed dresses up to flaunt the best of their look. Their husbands also get dressed in new and fresh clothes and vibrant turban. The in-laws of the bride present her brand-new clothes and good jewellery.
Many guests are invited to this impressive celebration of newly married. The wife sits with her spouse, while the parents-in-laws present her lovely jewellery and new clothes. Other invitees such as family, their friends and neighbors come and gift them with clothes or also cash. The newly wedded couple gets the blessings of their elders too besides the well-wishes of others.
First Lohri of a New Born Baby
A newly born baby’s Lohri celebrated for the first time is also very important. The mother of this newly born baby sit by him dressed in lavish clothes, jewellery and mehendi on hands. She holds the baby in her hands, while sitting, whereas the family and relatives present her cash or nice clothes. The maternal parents of the baby sends him gifts, like fruits, peanuts, clothes, etc.
Lohri in Today's Time
These days Lohri is combined with modern style celebrations. Initially, they gifted gajaks and sesame but nowadays they gift each other with till chocolate cakes and gajaks of chocolate. People nowadays became aware of environment friendly celebration on Lohri. As bon-fire require wood for lighting it, so several people there and also students make adjustments for it. They plant trees and also young trees to make up the loss of trees that were cut for this purpose.
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