Lohri is a festival of good luck, happiness and prosperity

By: Manmeet Kaur

Lohri is a festival that brings with it happiness, fun and love. While I was a kid, I always thought it to be an amazing evening of borne fire, fun, music and dance. But as I grew older  I understood the true meaning of this festival and the meaning of all the rituals performed during the celebrations.

This vibrant Punjabi festival is celebrated on 13th January every year around the harvest season. Therefore it is also known as the ‘Harvest festival’. The festival is celebrated in Northern India and it is of great significance for the harvest of Rabi crop. It is believed that this celebration brings prosperity to the family.

Here are a few interesting things about this festival -

  1. As per the Hindu calendar, Lohri falls on the last day of the Paush month which also marks the end of the cold winters and the commencing of the Magha month. It is the time of the year, when the sun changes its path.
  2. Some legends say that Holika and Lohri were sisters and while Holika burnt in the Holi fire and perished, Lohri survived. It is also said that eating of jaggery (rorhi) and sesame seeds (til) is a custom followed for years. Popcorns and nuts are also eaten and offered in the holy fire.
  3. It is a day full of excitement for the children. They all collect together and go from house to house while shouting “Ek do Lohri do, Zyada nahi to thodi do” which means give us pocket money, if not much, give us some. They also ask for eatables like til, Jaggery, Gajak or rewri.
  4. The day of the festival is one of the most auspicious days of the year for the Sikh community. It is considered as the financial New Year of Sikh’s and Punjabi’s.
  5. On the day of Lohri, people light a borne fire and come together to celebrate the day. Everyone takes parikrama around the holy fire and throw popcorn, puffed rice and nuts in the fire. While taking the parikarma they pray “Aadar aye dilather jaye” which means ‘May honor be ours and let poverty vanish’.
  6. After the Parikarma, men and women enjoy, men perform Bhangra (Punjabi Dance form) while women perform ‘gidda’ ( in this dance form women dance and sing at the same time in Punjabi).
  7. The festival is of great importance for the newlywed couple and a newborn. The festival marks an auspicious beginning to their new life. The couple and the families pray together for a happy life ahead.
  8. Generally Punjabi families prepare ‘sarson da saag’ and ‘makki di roti’ on this day. ‘Til rice’ made with jaggery, sesame seeds and rice are also made as a tradition.
  9. The Bollywood has also made many films with Lohri songs in it. Like the movie ‘Veer Zaara, staring Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini. But the regional songs have a different flavor to it. You will witness them in various Punjabi families on Lohri, specifically in the villages of Punjab.