Lohri also known as ‘lal loi’ is a folk and most important festival of Punjab, but it is also celebrated in other Northern states of India like Haryana, Himachal pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir , and Delhi. Lohri holds special significance for Punjabi people. It is celebrated on 13 January a day before Makar Sankranti every year. According to the Hindu calendar this festival falls in Paush or Magha. Lohri festival is the symbol of pinpointing winters and arrival of longer days. It marks the beginning of harvest season. The speciality of lohri is it celebrates the harvest of the rabi crop and is also a folk reverence for the goddess of lohri.
On the occasion of lohri festival farmers pray and greet god for the harvest before harvesting. People wear their traditional dresses and gather around the bonfire and sing their famous traditional lohri song ‘sundri mundri’ is played and they do bhangra and gidda on them. People circle and revolve around or do puja parikrama, the bonfire, put popcorn, peanuts, rewaris, til ladoos, nuts and gajak on fire and then they offer them to people sitting around the fire.
The stories related with Lohri are numerous and are based on religious as well as socio-cultural traditions. The most famous and interesting story behind Lohri is the story associated with the story of Prahlad and Holika. Once in India there was a king who was greedy and cruel. He called himself a god so the people of his kingdom had to worship him too. The king had a son named Prahlad who was just opposite to his father. He was very kind hearted and he worshipped lord Vishnu. When his father learnt this he was very angry and he wanted to kill his son. He threw him off the tallest cliff in the land. As he fell he prayed to Lord Vishnu to protect him, and the god heard him so his fall was gentle and he was not hurt, and after that he planned so many things to kill him but he always got unharmed.The king decided to call his sister named as Holika she had magic powers that the flames cannot harm her. She built a huge fire, and then she marched into the flames with prahlad. As the flames grew higher, Lord Vishnu took away Holika’s powers and granted them to Prahlad instead, then holika got burned in fire and prahlad stood in the middle of the fire, unharmed by the roaring flames. And to this day, at holi time, fires are lit and as they look into the flickering flames people remember this story.
One of the oldest and traditional message of lohri greeting is “sunder mundriye, ho tera kaun vichara, ho Dulha bhatti wala, ho Dulhe ne dhee vehaai, ho sadh shakkar paai, ho bas bas eh fad 10 rupaiye to aage vadh.”
May this festival fill your life with lots of positivity, love,warmth, and enthusiasm.
Team The India Saga wishes everyone Happy Lohri!