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Photo by Pixabay

A still from the film ‘Veer-Zaara’ where people are seen celebrating the festival of Lohri

Every year, the festival of Lohri is celebrated on January 13, which is a night before Makar Sankranti. Lohri is basically celebrated to commemorate the passing of the Winter Solstice and looks forward to longer days. The festival is primarily celebrated by the Sikh and Hindu communities in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent.

History and Significance of Lohri

One of the reasons why Lohri is celebrated is because wheat, which is the primary crop of Punjabis, is sown in October and is later harvested in March, and to celebrate this, people gather around a bonfire and celebrate the harvesting of this crop. At the same time, people also celebrate the passing of the winter and the coming of spring season as Lohri in January.

Dulla Bhatti ‘Dulla Bhatti’ was a local hero of Punjab during the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar. His grave is buried at Miani Sahib Qabristan in Pakistan.Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Another reason why Lohri is celebrated is because this day is attributed to the tale of ‘Dulla Bhatti’, who was a local hero of Punjab during the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar, and worked as a saviour of the people and was considered as ‘Robin Hood’ of Punjab. It is believed that he would steal commodities from the rich and provide them to the poor. In fact, he is believed to save groups of young girls from being sold into slavery, and would arrange the girls’ marriages to the village boys and provide them with dowry from the stolen loot. Interestingly, two of the girls who were saved by Dulla Bhatti were Sundri and Mundri, who have now come to be associated with Punjab’s famous folklore, ‘Sunder Mundriye’.

Celebration of Lohri

There is no doubt that every year the festival of Lohri is celebrated with much enthusiasm with the traditional bonfire. At the same time, along with the bonfire, people offer prayers to the God for a healthy harvest and offer peanuts, gur ki rewari, and fox nuts to the bonfire. After this, people majorly Sikhs, dance around the magnificent bonfire along with singing popular folk songs. Men show their energetic moves in Bhangra, while women do Gidda.

Lohri Celebration People, majorly Sikhs, dance around the magnificent bonfire while singing popular folk songs.Photo by Pixabay

It must be noted that even though the festival of Lohri is celebrated throughout India, but most of zeal and zest is seen in Punjab, where people celebrate by eating roasted corn from the new harvest. Alongside corn, sugarcane products such as gudd (jaggery) and gachak (dry sweet made of peanuts and jaggery) are central to the celebration food.

Because this year the threat of Covid-19 exists, the great celebration of Lohri may not be evident. But, this wouldn’t stop people from having fun in their safe spaces, their respective homes, where they’ll do Bhangra and Gidda while eating gajak!

(Keywords: Lohri, Celebration, Punjab, Hindu, Sikhs, India, Covid-19, Bhangra, Gidda, History, Significance, Happy Lohri, Dance)



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