A TO Z INDIA - - Folk Festivity -

Lohri is a pop­u­lar win­ter time folk fes­ti­val, cel­e­brated by Pun­jabi peo­ple of both the Sikh faith and the Hindu faith. ‘Lohri’ is cel­e­brated on 13th of Jan­uary, one day be­fore ‘Makar Sankranti’. Lohri marks the end of win­ter sea­son, in the north­ern re­gions of In­dia. This fes­tiv­ity holds great sig­nif­i­cance for a farmer. Since the tra­di­tional time to har­vest crops is Jan­uary, there­fore, Lohri is seen as a har­vest fes­ti­val. Lohri co­in­cides with the har­vest fes­ti­vals of ‘Pon­gal’ and ‘Bhogi’. In Andhra Pradesh, the day pre­ced­ing Makara Sankranti is called ‘Bhogi’ and in Tamil Nadu, the pre­ced­ing day of ‘Thai Pon­gal’ is known as ‘Bhogi’. Dur­ing ‘Bhogi’ fes­ti­val, peo­ple re­sid­ing in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu burn old and derelict things. Just be­fore sun­rise, peo­ple light a bon­fire out­doors with logs of wood and other wooden items that are no longer use­ful. This sig­ni­fies the fact that un­wanted habits, at­tach­ment to re­la­tions and ma­te­rial things are sac­ri­ficed in the fire of the knowl­edge known as ‘Ru­dra’.

This rep­re­sents a trans­for­ma­tion and pu­rifi­ca­tion of the soul by im­bib­ing di­vine virtues.

The Lohri fes­tiv­ity: The fes­tiv­ity is usu­ally out­doors and a bon­fire is lit in the main vil­lage square at sun­set. Peo­ple wear bright and new clothes. Sesame, peanuts, pop­corn and other food items are thrown into the fire. Some Hin­dus pour milk and wa­ter around the bon­fire to thank the Sun God and seek his con­tin­ued pro­tec­tion. A prayer is made to the ‘Agni’ and few peo­ple go around the fire. Singing and danc­ing are an in­trin­sic part of Lohri cel­e­bra­tions. Peo­ple dance the ‘bhangra’ and ‘gidda’ to the beat of the ‘dhol’. Later, ‘Prasad’ is dis­trib­uted among the peo­ple.

As a part of Lohri cel­e­bra­tions, chil­dren go from door to door singing the tra­di­tional folk songs of Lohri. These chil­dren are usu­ally given sweets, snacks and money. These col­lec­tions gath­ered by the chil­dren are known as ‘Lohri Loot’ and con­sists of Sesame, Jag­gery, Peanuts, etc. This 'Lohri Loot’ is then dis­trib­uted at night and some are also thrown into the fire.

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