Why is Lohri celebrated? Lohri Celebration and history
Posted on January 11th, 2021
Why is Lohri celebrated? Lohri Celebration 2021
The Lohri Festival which is mainly observed throughout India by Sikhs and Hindus marks the end of the winter season and is generally thought to welcome the sun to the northern hemisphere. This occasion includes a Puja Parikrama around the bonfire with prasad, observed one night before Makar Sankranti. This festival, particularly in northern India, is celebrated with great pomp and show.
It is literally called the farmers’ festival, the harvest festival, and one of the first Hindu festivals of the year, whereby the farmers are able to thank the Supreme Being. In the midst of traditional folk songs, dance, and food, Lohri is a way to spread the joy of seeing the sparkly pearls of rabi crops. The date of the festival is more or less the same each year related to the Bikrami calendar.
Lohri’s history dates back to the civilization of the Indus valley. Since this civilization prospered in the northern regions of India and Pakistan, the festival is mainly celebrated in these regions in a similar way. In other parts of India, it has many other names, such as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Makar Sankranti in Bengal, Magha Bihu in Assam, and Tai Pongal in Kerala.
There are various stories related to Lohri that are based on religious and socio-cultural practices and events. The most famous and fascinating legend behind Lohri is the story of Dulla Bhatti’s association.
At the time of the Mughal King Akbar, Dulla Bhatti was popular among the poor, similar to Robin Hood. He used to plunder the wealthy community and scatter the loot among the needy and the poor. This made him famous and revered among the people. He once rescued a girl from the hands of kidnappers, as the legend goes, and then took care of her like a daughter of his own.
The other tales claim that the word Lohri comes from the root ‘loh,’ meaning a large iron griddle or tava on which chapattis are made for group feasts. Another version says the term Lohri comes from ‘Loi,’ who was the wife of Kabir Das, the celebrated reformer.
Lohri was originally celebrated the night just before the Winter Solstice. It is used to mark the year’s coldest night, followed by the year’s longest night and shortest day. Since the night is very cold, people are shielded by lighting the fire and holding it throughout the night and spending their time around the fire, propitiating the sun and fire deities.
Then they consume the remains of the offering, dancing, singing, and share with their relatives the heavy and delicious bread and make merry. The harvesting time of rabi crops, that is, the winter season crops is also marked by this festival. Throughout this festival, the people of Punjab celebrate the sugar cane harvest.
Along with Makki ki roti, people make sweets called revari and gajak, and staples like Sarso ka Saag. Radish is one of the feast’s highlights and is also included.
Lohri is celebrated in the season of Shishir Ritu, the most fierce form of the winter season. During this season, because of extreme and harsh cold, the amount of Vata (air) and Kapha (ether) increases in the body.
In addition, the beginning of Aadan Kaal, or the time when the sun goes in the northern hemisphere, marks the introduction of weather roughness and, thus, the Ayurvedic shastras suggest people consume things made of sesame and jaggery to keep their body warmer and prepare the cold winter.
There are numerous rituals and customs associated with the Lohri festival. Kids and the girls of the house go from door to door two-three days before Lohri distributing and getting products such as candy, sugar, sesame seeds, jaggery, and cow dung cakes. They go to every fence, singing verses of Dulla Bhatti’s praise and other traditional songs.
People gather in an open space in the evening, when the sun is about to set, and put all the articles of the bonfire, such as cow dung cakes, logs, wood and sugarcane, and light the bonfire.
As this festival is a thanksgiving to the god of the sun, the mother earth, the fields, and the flames, in the name of various demigods, they give oblations to the fire and chant their names and mantras. All the ‘harvest’ is gathered in the form of popcorn, maize seeds, jaggery, rewari, gajak, peanuts, and sesame seeds from individuals.
Makar Sankranti is the day after Lohri, the day when the sun transits into the Capricorn sign of the zodiac. This change has different effects on everyone. So, in Lohri Puja, the deities of the sun, earth, and fire are worshipped to prepare for the next financial year and to give the farmers lots of bounty from their field and happiness and prosperity in their lives.
Takshila learning celebrates Lohri by marking the beginning of a new chapter in the academic and professional lives and doing away with ignorance and incompetency. Takshila learning envisions transforming the future generation of young citizens into successful people for the benefit of society and the country at large.
Celebrate the precious moments of Lohri with Takshila Learning to bring a remarkable change in your academics and profession