Day of celebration: January 13, 2020
Places of merriment: Punjab and Haryana
GOODBYE WINTERS, WELCOME SPRINGIndia is pre-dominantly agrarian in nature, and here comes the importance of Bhogi Lohri in India. The season of harvest and climate makeover is rejoiced with jollity among the farming community in Punjab just before the cutting and gathering of crops. One such festival is Lohri-the golden harvest festival for all kinds of crops, particularly wheat and corn. This day marks the departure of winter and heralds the spring season. It is symbolic as it pays homage to the Sun God for bringing in warmth after the chilly winter months.
A HISTORICAL SAGAThe origin of Bhogi Lohri festival is focused on the story of 'Dulla Bhatti'. It is believed that Dulla Bhatti was a Muslim highway robber during Akbar's reign. What's heroic that he rescued Hindu girls forcibly, sold them in the slave market of the Middle East. He arranged their marriages to Hindu boys with Hindu rituals. Understandably, though a bandit, he became a hero of all Punjabis.
A DAY OF PAMPERING FOR NEWBORNS AND JUST-MARRIED COUPLESFor the newly married couples, celebrating Lohri adds sparks of merriment in the family. The woman adorns herself with elegant salwar kameezes in gold and silk embroidery. They dress up pretty fashionably with colorful bangles and bindis on their forehead. For the newborns, whether a girl or a boy, the proud parents dance merrily hugging their loved ones tightly around the bonfire.
ENCHANTING FLAMESPrior to actual dancing around the bonfire, Lohri is celebrated by making a small image of 'Lohri Goddess' from cattle dung. It is then rekindled with fire beneath it. Thereafter, it is rejoiced with cultural fanfare around the bonfire. Preparations normally begin in the evening where logs of wood are assembled either in the huge fields or courtyards of the homes. Once the sky turns dark, bonfires are brightly lit up till it is amber red. Thereafter, families and friends are at their festive mood by dancing around the fire tossing with winter savories like popcorns, puffed rice, peanuts and sesame seeds. The men, women and children are all decked up in their colorful turbans and dupattas, dancing in a true Bhangra and Gidda style. With the loud beats of dhols-a traditional Indian drum, the celebration goes on till midnight with Punjabi folk songs.
DELICIOUS FEASTThe traditional offerings of Lohri are til, gajak, jaggery, peanuts and popcorn. Most of the sweets are prepared from wheat, sesame seeds, puffed rice, peanuts, coconut, dryfruits and sugar. The dinnertime is a typical Punjabi feast consisting of makki-ki-roti (multi-millet hand-rolled bread) and sarson-ka-saag (cooked mustard herbs), where family and friends relishes the feast.
ACROSS THE COUNTRYThe festival of Lohri is known by different names in multi-cultural Indian states with different customs and rituals.
lohri 2020, harvest festival of haryana, how to celebrate lohri, lohri images, harvest festival of punjab, lohri festival essay, baisakhi, why is lohri celebrated