When: Sunday, 13th January 2013
Where: Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, parts of Himachal Pradesh
Traditional singing and dancing accompanied with sumptuous feast and bonfire sets up the mood for nonstop celebrations for Lohri festival. This festival is believed to burn all the moments of sadness and brings in warmth of happiness and love. Lohri marks the end of the harvest in Northern India, and is characterised by the worship of fire. The Lohri fire gets sanctified and is respected as a deity. This fire (Lohri Bonfire) is considered a representation of energy and spiritual strength and is lit during the festival in every household. Various grains like peanuts, popcorn, puffed rice and similar goodies are ceremonially 'fed' to this fire. What follows, of course, is plenty of feeding to everybody around as well!
Lohri Traditions and Rituals
The main ritual during Lohri festival include chanting prayers in front of the fire for abundant crops and taking parikramas (three rounds of the pious fire) while throwing peanuts and sweets in the sacred fire. After this ritual ‘prasad’ is distributed that includes mainly six things- sweets like gur, gazak and revdi, peanuts, popcorn and puffed rice.
The first Lohri of a bride or a newborn baby is considered extremely important in India, which calls for a great feast. Lohri celebrations are never complete without music and dance, and feasting is invariably rounded off with a vigorous bit of shake-a-leg. The traditional dinner on Lohri includes appetizing traditional Punjabi food like 'makki ki roti' and 'baajre ki roti' with 'sarson ka saag'.
“Sunder mundarie, Hoy!
Tera ki vichara, Hoy!
Dulla bhatti vala, Hoy!
Dulle di dhi viyai, Hoy! Ser shaker pai, Hoy!”
Wondering what is this? This is the main traditional Lohri song sung by people during the festival.
There are various interesting folk stories and legends associated with this festival. The very famous story from history is that during the reign of Akbar there was a Raja of Pindi Bhattian, Dulla Bhatti. Dulla Bhatti was known, respected and loved by tribal people as he used to rob the rich and help poor. Dulla Bhatti once rescued a girl from the kidnappers and then adopted her as his daughter. Bhatti was sentenced to death by the Mughal king Akbar for revolting against him later. Since then this hero is remembered each year on Lohri and the traditional song is sung as a tribute to this hero. On this occasion, children in groups move from door to door and sing the Dulla Bhatti song.