The spirits of 2021 are finally beginning to set in and what's better than a grand festival like Lohri to start the new year full of love, prosperity, happiness and success.
Lohri is a harvest festival that hails from the state of Punjab and is celebrated all over India. It is known for bringing friends and families together who spend the joyous day engaging in various activities and at night perform the age old tradition of dancing around the fire, just before Makar Sankranti.
Lohri in it's core aspect is the time of the year where people offer their prayers to Mother Earth and The Sun God for a new and prosperous harvest season and good health.
According to the Hindu calendar, the festival falls in the month of Paush, which as per the Gregorian calendar usually comes around January 13th.
The legend of Lohri: Robinhood of Punjab
If one is unaware, the festival of Lohri is based on a very famous and long lived folk lore of Punjab.
The heroic story of Dulla Bhatti
As it is evident in most of the Lohri songs, the festival is also considered a tribute to the legend, Dulla Bhatti. Dulla Bhatti was the Raja of Pindi Bhattian who was considered a hero in Punjab because he robbed food for the poor to help them fight hunger. Respected for his compassion towards his people, he was also called 'The Son of Punjab' and 'Robin Hood of Punjab'.
Further, he also saved young women from being sold to a slave market in the Middle East. However, he was sentenced to death by the Mughal king for revolting against him.
According to Ishwar Dayal Gaur, although he was "the trendsetter in peasant insurgency in medieval Punjab", he remains "on the periphery of Punjab's historiography".
Customs and traditions
Apart from offering their prayers, children and adults both, offer peanuts, popcorn and makhana to the bonfire. They spend the night circling the fire and dancing in joy to popular folk lore songs. This act is devoted to the fire deity. As the festival is primarily celebrated in the north, to spice up the vibe, people also play and dance to the dhol for hours.
In rural areas, families also shout various slogans while dancing around the fire. One of the most widely sung slogan is "Aadar aye dilather jaye”, meaning- may honor come and poverty vanish.
Lohri also gives children men, and women a reason to get dressed and dolled up! Women are usually spotted draped in kurtas, lehengas and vibrant dupattas while men can be seen all clad in bright kurtas, dhotis and pagdis. The colours of these clothes are often pink, red, green, yellow, and blue. They signify glory and happiness.
One of the most fun and important traditions of Lohri is Kite flying. Children even take part in friendly kite-flying competitions with their friends and neighbours. Moreover, it is also considered a way of thanking the sun and mother nature to bless them with a successful crop season.
Lohri is also a very special festival for newly-wed couples and even new born children. This is so because, the festival of Lohri is known for celebrating fertility.
Thus, Lohri as a festival is a simple reminder for us to be grateful for all that the Mother Earth provides us with and always putting your best foot forward in any endeavor that we take up.