Lohri is the most popular festival which is celebrated by the entire Punjabi and Sikh community after the sunset. This festival is usually celebrated on January 13 each year. Lohri is closely linked to Hindu festival Makar Sankranti, which is celebrated one day after that. There is a belief that this Punjabi festival marks the culmination of winter by worshiping the bonfire fire. Basically, this festival is traditionally associated with the harvest of the rabi crops. It is said that this time is the traditional time to harvest sugarcane crops and that is the major reason why Lohri is termed as the harvest festival. The next day after Lohri is celebrated as Maghi Sangrand which means as the financial New Year is celebrated by the Punjabi farmers.

Lohri festival is basically celebrated on winter solstice day, as this day being the shortest day of the year. People celebrate Lohri festival with full fervour around the bonfire which marks the onset of longer days. The main tradition of Lohri is the bonfire which signifies the return of longer days. On this special day, gur rewri, peanuts and popcorns are the three edibles which is associated with this festival. As the Punjabi Folk Religion worships natural elements, the main feature of Lohri is the bonfire which is dedicated as the end of winter season. Some Punjabi even prepare the tradition food items which include gajjak, sarson da saag and makke di roti which makes the day even more special. There is an age-old tradition to eat ’til rice’ which is a sweet rice made up of jaggery (gur) and sesame seeds. ALSO READ: Lohri Recipes: Sarson ka Saag-Makke ki Roti, Murmura Ladoo – Top 7 yummy dishes to celebrate the festival

Significance of celebrating Lohri festival

Lohri is also celebrated as the harvest festivals. And farmers play an vital role during this festival. They also term the day after Lohri (Maghi) as the financial new year. As per the traditional customs and rituals, children singing a song in praise of Dulha Bhatti and seek money from the elders. On the day of Lohri, people prepare eatables like til (sesame) seeds, peanuts, jaggery, or sweets like gazzak, rewri, etc. Further in the evening the bonfire ritual is done, where people gather and throw puffed rice and popcorn into the fire. They also keep on chanting “Aadar aye dilather jaye” which means ‘May honor come and poverty vanish’.

Punjabis also sing popular folk songs which is a way of thanking the Sun God. On this day, Punjabis practice their folk dance. Further men’s perform Bhangra and women graceful perform Gidda. Apart from this, kite flying also takes place on the day of Lohri.

All you need to know about the traditional customs on the day of Lohri

In the morning on Lohri day, children go from door to door singing and demanding the Lohri ‘loot’ in the form of money and eatables like til (sesame) seeds, peanuts, jaggery, or sweets like gajak, rewri, etc. They sing in praise of Dulha Bhatti, a Punjabi avatar of Robin Hood who robbed the rich to help the poor, and once helped a miserable village girl out of her misery by getting her married off like his own sister. The Punjabi women even sing Sunder mundriye ho while they go around the bonfire.

What is the Bonfire ritual

In the evening, where people gather and throw puffed rice, popcorn and other munchies into the fire. Further they also keep on chanting “Aadar aye dilather jaye” (May honor come and poverty vanish!), and sing other popular folk songs. It is said that they pray to fire god to bless their land with abundance and prosperity. After the prayers, people meet  friends, exchange greetings and distribute prasad. The prasad comprises five main items including til, gajak, jaggery, peanuts, and popcorn.Their traditional dinner includes makke-di-roti (multi-millet hand-rolled bread) and sarson-da-saag (cooked mustard herbs). We at India.com wish a very Happy Lohri to you and your family.

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