On the 13th day of January, India shall celebrate Lohri. The popular harvest festival signifies the end of winters on the last day of the month of Paush and the onset of the Indian Magha month. It is customary to give Lohri gifts to family and friends.
For the people of North India, Lohri is an important festival. It marks the season of harvest in Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh, and is widely celebrated all over the world. The auspicious day of Lohri marks the change in the direction of the Sun God.
Meaning of Lohri
According to folklore, the word Lohri is derived from the term “loh”, which means an iron tava or griddle used to make chapattis for community feasts. Another tale has it that the word originates from “loi”, who was the reformer, Kabir Das’s wife.
Practically, the words til or sesame and rorhi or jaggery, are also associated with the festival. Together, these words were pronounced as ‘tilohri’, which was gradually morphed into Lohri.
The festival is marked by lighting bonfire. Once the fire turns off, dinner comprising of Makki di roti and Sarson da saag is served with buttermilk. People exchange good wishes and gifts for Lohri on this auspicious occasion.
History of Lohri
The origin of Lohri dates back to the tales of Dulla Bhatti, a famous legendary Punjabi hero who led a rebellion against Akbar, the Mughal emperor. His acts of bravery made him a hero in Punjab. Lohri songs are dedicated to him, expressing gratitude for his brave deeds.
Lohri is the festival that brings the entire community together. Each family contributes sweets made of gur and tiltilchowli, peanuts, and other delicious homemade foods.
The Guru Granth Sahib also mentions and praises this auspicious occasion and says that people who meditate before the Lohri fire shall be blessed.
Significance of Lohri
Lohri holds a significance for the Punjabi agriculturists as it marks the onset of a new financial year. On this very day, farmers settle the division of their products of land between the tillers and themselves.
Lohri has even greater significance if any happy event has taken place in the family, such as a marriage or the birth of a child. Families play hosts to their relatives and friends and have a gala time. Most people also participate in singing and dancing bhangra, a popular folk dance.
The atmospheric physical changes are also significant to Lohri. Celebrations generate warmth and bonhomie as everyone gathers around the bonfire, sing and dance, talk and laugh, exchange pleasantries, and pray for good health and prosperity.
If you cannot meet up with all your relatives during this Lohri, plan to send Lohri gifts online.
The Auspicious Lohri Fire
Lohri is marked by the bonfire – the highlight of the festive season. Traditionally, families gather around the fire and make merry by singing songs like Sundariye Mundariye Ho. Nowadays, people have many sources of songs, such as YouTube and other apps.
People make merry around the Lohri fire and throw some foods such as popcorn, gajak, and puffed rice into the fire as a tribute to the Sun Gods in exchange for blessings.
The Lohri fire is burned because folklore of Punjab firmly believes the flames of Lohri bonfire carry prayers and messages of the people to the Sun God. It brings warmth to the planet and makes crops grow. In return, the Sun God blesses this land and ends the days of cold and gloom. The following day of Makar Sankranti brings happiness and joy into the lives of people.
Lohri Celebration Ideas
Besides the usual celebrations, people now look forward to something new this year. You can send Lohri gifts online and plan some innovative ways to celebrate this auspicious day as well. Here are some ideas:
• Try some new recipes: As the entire family unites for Lohri, you can try some new recipes and food ideas for this special day. The reunion of one big family calls for different types of dishes and delicacies. Put together some new and exciting recipes besides the usual saag and roti.
• Play a game around the bonfire: As the bonfire begins and celebrations are at peak, plan a game with your family. You can play dumb charade, truth, and dare, pick up a chit and perform, and other such fun games.
• Design personalized gifts: Lohri gifts should be innovative. You can either design personalized goodie bags or order online. If you are doing it yourself, pack in items like dry fruits, peanuts, revari, jaggery, popcorns, peanut chikki, and other such treats for the family. Send gifts for Lohri to your loved ones with a personal touch.
• Make sugarcane mocktails: If you have not tried yet, sugarcane mocktails can be fun on the day of Lohri. You can experiment with a wide range of sugarcane drinks teamed with scotch, whiskey and vodka – it is your choice. Make an exotic mocktail, different from what you always have.
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