Lohri is a popular harvest festival celebrated by people in the North Indian States of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and parts of Himachal Pradesh. Lohri is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm especially among the farmers since this festival is associated with the harvesting of the winter crops. The festival is also said to mark the end of the cold chilly winter and welcomes the arrival of spring. It is a fun-filled festivity celebrated every year in the month of January on the longest night of the year.
Lohri is celebrated on the 13th of January every year, when the earth changes its course and start moving towards the earth. For the farmers, the day after Lohri, signifies the beginning of a financial new year. The festival also coincides with the festival of Pongal in Tamil Nadu.
There are various stories associated with the festival of Lohri. In the ancient times, people would light fire on this day and chant a special mantra to call upon the Sun God to express their gratitude towards him for protecting them from the cold winter.
Another famous folk tale associated with the festival of Lohri is the tale of Dulla Bhatti. Dulla Bhatti lived in Punjab during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar and was regarded as a hero. He used to rob the rich people distribute the wealth among the poor. He rescued girls who were being taken as slaves and arranged for their marriages and provided them with dowries. Among these girls were two girls named ‘Sundri’ and ‘Mundri’ who gradually became part of the Punjabi folklore and folk songs.
Traditional Celebrations of Lohri
- People dress up in new clothes and gather in large open spaces or outside their homes to celebrate the festival.
- The main attraction of the Lohri festival is the bonfire celebration where people light bonfires outside their houses and throw peanuts, popcorn and sweets into the flames.
- People hold a puja which involves a parikrama around the fire and distribution of Prasad which comprises of til, gajak, gur, moongphali, phulliya, etc.
- After the puja, people dance and sing Punjabi folk songs around the bonfire.
- People greet each other by wishing ‘Happy Lohri” and exchange sweets.
- They cook traditional Punjabi dishes like ‘Makki ki roti” and “Sarso ka Saag”
This Lohri, follow the tips given below to celebrate this seasonal holiday with your child:
- Dress your child in traditional Punjabi dresses and explain to her the significance of the festival.
- Cook traditional Punjabi dishes like “Makki ki roti” and “Sarso ka saag” at home.
- Distribute til, gajak, gur, moongphali, etc. among the children of in your locality.
- Tell your child about the folk tales behind Lohri.
- Arrange for a bonfire in the evening and encourage your child to participate in the Parikrama, keeping in mind the safety measures.
- Sing Punjabi folk songs like ‘Sundar Mundariye, Hoi!’ and enjoy the bonfire with your child.