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Lohri 2020 Date and Significance

Last Updated: 1/25/2019 12:08:15 PM

Lohri is a popular festival of Punjab celebrated primarily by Sikhs and Hindus of Punjab and Haryana region in India. The festival is celebrated during the beginning of the harvest season which is a reason that calls for a celebration. This year Lohri will be celebrated on 13th January, 2020. This is an official gazetted holiday in the state of Punjab.

Lohri 2020

Lohri celebration is like a tradition of welcoming the longer days and Sun’s journey in the Northern hemisphere. Linked to the Bikrami calendar, the festival of Lohri is celebrated a day before the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti. It is believed by many people that Lohri is a festival that commemorates the passing of the winter solstice.

Festivals bring merriment, whether in Punjab or Chennai. First Lohri of a couple or the celebration of the birth of a child is worthwhile. The level of celebration for the first year of a new life is beyond ordinary. However, in general, the celebrations are memorable as well. All the family members gather to celebrate Lohri together. Relatives and friends are also invited. Just like all other festivals it marks the importance of togetherness and spending some great time with the family and to make some cherishable moments of life.

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Lohri comes on the same date every year and falls on the 13th of January as per the Gregorian calendar. This is one of those few festivals which have a repetitive date in our country as for other festivals, the date is calculated using lunar or lunisolar calendar which gives rise to a change. Being a major festival of the Sikhs, the day of Lohri is very important to them.

History behind Lohri celebration

There are a number of folklores behind celebrating this festival. One of which says that in ancient times this festival was celebrated at the end of the month when the winter solstice occurs. Hence, increase in the length of days is celebrated in this festival. One of the reasons, according to the beliefs, which makes it acceptable scientifically is that in the region near the Himalayas, winters are biting cold as compared to rest of the subcontinent. People, therefore, on the day of Lohri, lit bonfire in their yard and sang and danced together as it marked the onset of longer days of the summer season. This festival also marks an important ritual of worshipping Lord fire (Agni). This festival is associated with the harvesting season of Rabi crops.

Significance of Lohri

This festival holds great significance and multiple reasons for celebration. The end of winter and the beginning of harvesting, of the season of crops, is a reason worth celebrating. Since India is an agrarian economy, most of the festivals that are celebrated during the change of weather are for marking the arrival of harvesting season.

There is popular folklore behind the celebration of Lohri which is the tale of Dulla Bhatti whose real name was Abdullah Bhatti and he is known to be the Robin hood of Punjab. It is said that Dulla Bhatti rescued some girls from being sold at the time of the rule of King Akbar. The girls were being sent to the Middle East by the English people. Among those were two girls named Sundri and Mundri who became a theme of the folklore of Punjab. It is believed that he arranged for the marriage of the girls in the jungle and performed the ceremony on his own. As a part of the tradition, children go around homes singing the folk song and remembering Dulla Bhatti for being the Hero of Punjab.

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It is also believed that the word Lohri has been derived from the name of “Loi” who was the wife of saint Kabir. Lohri is also supposed to be coming from the word “Loh” which means the light and warmness of fire. In rural Punjab, the festival is also known as Lohi.

There is another folk-tale related to the festival which tells that Lohri was the sister of Holika and while the Holi fire is perished by the former, the latter survived with Prahlad. Offering sesame seeds to fire and eating things made of them is a major tradition of Lohri. It is said that the two words til and rohri merged to become tirohi which became the term Lohri.

How is the festival of Lohri celebrated?

The day starts with children singing the songs of Dulla Bhatti and going to the neighbourhood. People cook various dishes to celebrate the festival and there are dance performances around the bonfire in the evening. Everyone sings and dances to folk music.

Huge bonfires are lit in the harvesting fields during the evening and people gather around them to perform parikrama or movement in a circle. People throw puffed rice, popcorn and other munchies into the fire celebrating the harvest season. They shout “Aadar aye dilather jaye” which means “may honour come and poverty vanishes”. The fire god is offered edibles and prayers are made to him to bless everyone with prosperity and land.

Many children ask for money and rewards on the festival day. People give rabri, peanuts, popcorns and sesame seeds to neighbours, relatives and friends. Everyone gathers around the bonfire and enjoy the night. Some of the delicacies that are served this day are Sarso ka Saag and Makki ki roti which people eat sitting around the bonfire. Gifts and sweets are also exchanged. People get dressed and the newlywed ones wear special jewellery while the newborns are given little combs to hold. Everyone enjoys the whole night, singing and dancing, while the children sleep in the arms of their mothers.

People also throw sticks of sugarcane in the bonfire which fills an aroma of burning sugar spread in the atmosphere. Fireworks and sparklers are lit by the girls and golden hue is seen by the fire’s glow which lights faces and makes the festivities look merrier.

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Some of the practices followed during the festival

  • Guests are offered jaggery, gajak, phuliyan, peanuts and popcorn.
  • Milk and water are poured around the bonfire to thank the Sun God.
  • There is a tradition of eating til rice on this day.
  • Radish is another important food item in the festival of Lohri.
  • There is a tradition of the adult of the family giving money to the children who sing the folk songs of Punjab during the Bonfire.
  • Gidda is done on the beats of dhol which are a part of the traditions followed in Punjab

People do the collection a few days before the festival for which the young boys and girls go to the neighbourhood to ask for money for the bonfire. In some places, grains and jaggery are also collected as a part of the Lohri bonfire collection which is later used as offerings and given to the guests to eat.

Why celebrate Lohri?

  • Irrespective of the community, if you celebrate the festival of Lohri, you will get to know a lot about the culture and practices of the people across the nation.
  • Festivals always cheer us up and help freshen-up the mind.
  • Warmth of a bonfire is a reason good enough.
  • Enjoying the munchies under the sky full of stars is not a sight very common today.
  • Music and dance is a great practice for merry making as we tend to forget all the problems in our life.
  • The delicious food we get to eat is good enough to fill the stomach and treat the tongue.
  • Festivals celebrated with closed ones always make the bonds with them stronger.
  • Promoting the traditional practices by performing them and keeping them alive is what has made our country preserve the cultural values our ancestors have left for us to follow and retain.

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Apart from Punjab, this festival has gained popularity in Haryana, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh which are closest to the state of Punjab. The festival of Lohri is also celebrated by the Punjabis living in Sindh as Lal Loi. Another community which celebrate this festival with great pomp is the Sindhis. This festival is also celebrated in other parts of India in different forms just like Makar Sankranti, which falls on the next day of Lohri, is celebrated in multiple ways and different names across the country.

2020 brings to us an opportunity to go and celebrate festivals with our family. Better if you could get an opportunity to celebrate Lohri with the people of Punjab. It is always best to celebrate the festivals with our family and try to understand our cultural values so we can retain and pass them to our coming generations.

People have started moving to a secular state of mind. We're celebrating almost every festival of every community, it being a unifying factor. People these days, are finding ways to enjoy life in all the possible ways. So, why not the festivals be our chance?

AstroCAMP wishes you a Happy Lohri. May the spirit of festivity bring prosperity to all.

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