Lohri – The harvest festival of Punjab

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Lohri
Lohri

Lohri, is celebrated every year on 13th of January. It is a festival to worship fire. Lohri Festival is celebrated with great pomp in North India specially Punjab. At this time Earth starts moving towards the sun marking the auspicious period of Uttarayan. First Lohri is very important for the newly wed and the new born babies as it marks fertility. At night, people gather around the bonfire and throw til, puffed rice & popcorns into the flames of the bonfire. Prayers are offered to the bonfire seeking abundance & prosperity. People make merry by dancing & singing traditional folk songs.

Though Lohri festival has no religious significance but it holds a great social significance and is celebrated as a day of imparting social love to one and all. The festival of Lohri is meant to relieve people from worldly day to day routine, and make them relaxed, cheerful and happy. It is the time when people from all castes and social strata come together forgetting all past differences and grievances. Every year Lohri succeeds in bridging the social gap, as people visit homes, distribute sweets and greet each other.

Apart from this, the festival of Lohri is related to the harvest season. Harvest and fertility festivals a special significance for an agrarian country like India. Punjab being a predominantly agricultural state that prides itself on its food grain production, it is little wonder that Lohri is its one of the most significant festival. Thus, Lohri is symbolic of ripening of the crops and of copious harvest. Lohri instill sensitivity among the people towards their environment and culture. The fundamental theory behind the festival of Lohri is the sense of togetherness and the culturally rich legacy of the people of Punjab.

Lohri Bonfire
Lohri Bonfire

Lohri in Punjab and Haryana have always been celebrated with much exuberance and fanfare. They believe in celebrating this harvest festival together and rejoicing it to the fullest. For the masses this festival is a popular occasion for social intercourse and enjoyment. They make a bonfire and roast ‘fresh chholia’ (green gram) in pods with its leaves and stems intact, and eat it. They also sing and dance sitting around the fire. Lohri is thus a community festival and is always celebrated by getting together with neighbors and the relatives.

The focus of Lohri is on the bonfire. The traditional dinner with makki ki roti and sarson ka saag is quintessential. The prasad comprises of five main items: til (gingelly) , gajak (a hardened bar of peanuts in jaggery or sugar syrup) , gur (jaggery) , moongphali (peanuts) , and phuliya (popcorn). There is puja, involving parikrama around the fire and distribution of prasad. This symbolises a prayer to Agni, the spark of life, for abundant crops and prosperity.

Lohri Sweets)
Lohri Sweets

Therefore, the festival of Lohri has great social significance. This time is considered auspicious for marriages and to undertake new ventures. The farmer, comparatively free from his yeoman’s duties, takes to fun and frolic. The golden color of the ripening corn in the fields pleases him. For newly-weds and newborns, Lohri is a special occasion. Families of the bride and groom get together and celebrate by dancing around the fire and expressing their joy. Lohri is a grand event of social and cultural integration, bringing about unity, amity, harmony among all castes and communities.

Lohri songs for girls

“Hulle nee maiyee hulle
do beri patte jhulle
do jhul payeaan kahjurran
khajurran suttya meva
es munde de ghar mangeva
es munde di voti nikdi

oh! khandi choori, kutdi
Kut! Kut! Bharaya thaal woti bave nananaa nal
Ninaan te wadi parjaee
So kudma de ghar aayee!
mein lohri lain aayee!”

Lohri songs for boys

The song given below is also sung when children visit each and every house to collect the Lohri contributions.

Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicaharaa ho!
Dullah bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paatta ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!

Zamindaar sudhaye!
bade bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee pakad ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari eet!
Sanoo de de lohri te teri jeeve jodi!
Paheenve ro te phannve pit! ”

Lohri Fun Songs

“Mukai da dana, Aana lei ke jana…
hulle hulare
asi ganga chale
sas sora chale
jeth jathani chale
dyor darani chale
pairi shaunkan chali
hulle hulare
asi ganga pohnche
sas sora pohnche
jeth jathani pohnche
dyor darani pohnche
pairi shaunkan pohnchi
hulle hulare

asi ganga nahte shava or hulle
jeth jathani nahte

dyor darani nahte
pairi shaunkan nahtii
hulle hulare

shaunkan paili pauri
shaunkan duji pauri
shaunkan tiji pauri
maiti dhakka ditta
shaukan vichhe rud gayi

hulle hulare

sas sora ron
jeth jathani ron
dyor darani ron
paira oh wi rove

main kya tusi kyon ronde
tvade jogi main batheri
mainu dyo badhaiyaan ji

Hulle Hullare”

Apart from the traditional Lohri songs people on the occasion of Lohri sing many other Punjabi songs and perform bhangra and gida that is the folk dance of Punjab.