Happy Lohri Date 2017 in India
It is an official holiday on the day of Lohri in Punjab. The festival is celebrated by the Sikhs and the Hindus primarily in the Punjab state and other parts of India where people of this community stay. It is also observed to be celebrated actively by the Christians, Muslims, and the Hindus as well. The Punjabi Muslims as well are seen enjoying this festive occasion but there is no official holiday in the country of Pakistan.
There are many myths about the Lohri festival. In the regions near adjacent to the Himalayan mountain ranges where the weather is the coldest as compared to other subcontinents, Lohri is an ancient Hindu festival which was meant to be celebrated in the mid winters. The basic tradition regarding the festival is the bonfire that is lit by the people. This symbolizes the welcoming of the warmth gained by the Sun. the people sing songs dancing around the bonfire enjoying the warmth of it.
Lohri signifies the harvesting of the Rabi crops. The people belonging to the Northern India (Punjab & Haryana) are majorly seen celebrating this festive occasion. On the morning of this festival, kids roam around the localities singing songs praising Dulha Bhatti, a person who used to rob the rich people and helped the poor ones. He was hence known as the Punjabi Robin Hood. As the evening comes up and the sun starts setting, the people put up bonfires in their harvested fields or in the courtyards of their house and invite their friends and relatives to meet up. They all together offer sweets, cooked rice, popcorn, or some of the other harvested crops to the holy bonfire. This is much more than a festival for the Punjabis, which shows up their love for the celebrations.
On the day of Lohri, people are seen wearing the best traditional attires, all of different colors and designs. The newly married women wear up much jewelry, newly born babies are handed over small combs. People with their relatives and friends gather up at the harvested fields in order to celebrate the festival together.
The people perform parikramas (walking around the bonfire) singing holy hymns or songs loudly in order to worship and praise the lord of fire (Agni Devta) for giving warmth. Even small children dance around the bonfire and they love doing it with immense joy. After this the families and relatives visit each others’ homes in order to exchange greetings and distribute sweets/Prasad that consists on sesame, gajak, jaggery, peanuts, and popcorn. Prasad is an offering made to God and it’s a ritual followed by the Hindus that whatever sacred food is offered to the God in puja, is to be consumed in the form of blessings of the God. People invite their friends and relatives for dinner which include their traditional Punjabi dishes, Makke-di-roti and sarso-da-saag.
In the Lohri festival, singing and dancing are the intrinsic part of the celebrations. Lohris are sung loudly by the people. Lohris are the songs sung while walking or dancing around the bonfire. There are many Lohri songs one of which is.
Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicharaa ho!
Dullah Bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paata ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chacha gali dese!
Chache choori kutti! Zamidara lutti!
Bum Bum bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari itt!
Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pitt!
Sanoo de de Lohri, Te teri jeeve jodi!
The above Lohri is sung to praise Dulha Bhatti.
Some people believe that the name Lohri comes from the name of Saint Kabir’s wife ‘Loi’. Some think it to be coming from the word ‘loh’ meaning the light and warmth of fire. In the rural Punjab, people call it as Lohi. In some ancient stories it is mentioned that Lohri and Holika were sisters.
One interesting fact that is followed by the people while celebrating the Lohri is that 10-15 before this festive occasion comes, a group of boys in the village moves out from door to door asking for the Lohri items, viz., wooden logs, cow dung cakes, grains, jaggery, etc. one of the boys’ face is blotted with black ash and around his waist a big rope is tied. He acts as a deterrent for the people who refuse to give the Lohri items. The boys sing various Lohri songs asking for the items. If people reject to give away the items or if someone gives insufficient items, the boys and mostly the deterrent of the group gives the people an ultimatum to give more or they loosen the rope. If still the people refrain from doing so, the boys enter the people’s house and break the clay pots and clay stoves present inside the house.
Celebrations in other States
This festival of harvest is celebrated in the other parts of the country as well, but in a little different manner and is given different names depending upon the way of its celebration or the region in which it is celebrated. In Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh it is known as Makar Sankranti, where as in Tamil Nadu it is called Pongal. In Assam it is called Bihu, and in Andhra Pradesh it is known by the name Bhogi. In some states it is celebrated for only one single day, while in some it goes on for more than two days.