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No country comes even close to India in the number of lively and colorful festivals celebrated every year. No matter what part of the country you are in, and what time of the year it is, there is some festival just round the corner. One state which is known for its grand and amazing celebrations during its festive season is north India’s Punjab. The people of Punjab are known for their hospitality and warmth. They are known to be people who live life king size and never let one dull moment creep into their lives. And one of the best festivals to witness Punjab and its people in all its glory is Lohri. Celebrated as a harvest festival to thanks the Gods for the farming season, Lohri is north India’s winter festival celebrated primarily in Punjab but also in Haryana, and parts of Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. Lohri 2017 falls on January 13 and the entire country is excited about the festival. However, it is the state of Punjab that is at its festive best and all set to bring in the celebrations. (ALSO SEE Lohri 2017: Why we celebrate Lohri) Also Read - Kejriwal Warns of Action Against Private Hospitals Denying COVID-19 Treatment, Urges Asymptomatic People to Not Test



For Punjab, Lohri is a very significant festival as it marks the end of winter and the beginning of the new farming season. The wholesome harvest is celebrated by locals during this festival. It is the time of the year when you can witness locals dressing up in Punjab’s colorful traditional wear and breaking into dance performances. The celebrations are marked by a large group of well-dressed people dancing around a huge bonfire. Women dress up in wonderful kurtas, lehengas and dupattas while men wear bright and colorful lungis, kurtas and pagdis. The singing and dancing springs life into the atmosphere and it is truly the best time of the year to visit Punjab. Bhangra dance by men begins after the offering to the bonfire. Dancing continues till late night with new groups joining in amid the beat of drums. Men and women dance in different styles in Punjab thanks to the variety of folk dance forms this state offers. The men perform Bhangra, Jhoomer, Luddi, Julli and Dankara dance forms while the women groove to Giddha and Kikli forms. DON’T MISS 14 Punjabi delicacies and the best places to taste them! Also Read - AIIMS PG Entrance Exams 2020: Admit Cards Issued, Download From aiimsexams.org

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The bonfire is a key part of Lohri celebrations. It is believed to spread warmth amongst people that lasts the last lap of winter in the region. People sing and dance around the bonfire during Lohri celebrations. Rituals of various forms are performed around the bonfire. One such ritual is between couples as depicted in the popular Bollywood movie Veer Zaara starring huge Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta. As per the ritual, when a man seeks a woman, he takes her name by the bonfire and breaks a sugarcane stick. If the woman reciprocates his love, she responds by breaking a sugarcane stick. This is considered as an approval and the couple is wed soon. However, if the woman wishes to refuse, she just quietly throws some sesame seeds in the fire and that’s that! CHECK OUT 7 interesting facts you must know about Lohri

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Flying kites is another ritual that attracts a lot of attention. People dressed up in colorful clothes get together to fly beautiful multi-colored kites early in the morning. From men and women to young kids, everyone gets excited about kite-flying during Lohri. It is believed that this ritual is performed in order to soak in the early morning sun. It is also considered a way to thank the sun for helping people throughout the farming season. It is considered as a thank you as well as a plea for the sun’s blessings for the state whose main occupation is agriculture. DO SEE 5 rituals that mark Lohri celebrations

Traditionally, Lohri is believed to have been a celebrate the passing of the longest night of the year. It is a commonly accepted part of the folklore that Lohri is a cultural celebration of the winter solstice. In ancient times, Lohri was celebrated on the eve of winter solstice day which means it was on the shortest day of the year. Therefore, people believe day light is meant to increase from the day after Lohri when the sun starts its northward journey. Punjabis all over the world celebrate Lohri with gay abandon. But it is in Punjab where the celebrations are best seen! The huge bonfires lit in vast fields or yards of houses make for a pleasant sight. Hoards of locals gather around rising flames throwing puffed rice, popcorn and other munchies into the fire shouting the slogan “Aadar aye dilather jaye” (May honor come and poverty vanish!). The whole setup with the sweet sound of popular folk songs makes for a majestic ambiance and truly depicts the heart of Punjab. ALSO SEE 5 dhabas we love in Amritsar

Preparations for Lohri begin well in advance in the state of Punjab. Punjab takes its seasons and festivals very seriously. It’s part of Punjab’s culture to respect the natural elements of fire, wind, water and the earth. The year is divided into six seasons in Punjab with the months of Maghar and Poh representing the peak of winter. Lohri is celebrated on the last day of the month of Poh and has therefore gained significance as the end of winter festival. Teej (or Teeyan as it is known in Punjabi) is dedicated to the monsoon season and the festival of Basant is dedicated to spring. Lohri remains one of the highlights of Punjabi culture and is celebrated by all faiths in the Punjab region. NOW SEE 5 Indian cities that celebrate Lohri with pomp

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