What is Lohri and Why it is Celebrated?

Do you know how we celebrate abundance, and happiness just a few days after the start of the New Year? Well, in Punjab, people celebrate Lohri, a festival of abundance and warmth. While the same is celebrated across various states in India and is known by different names, the festival of Lohri celebrates the harvest season, togetherness, and the ripening of the crops.

What makes Lohri special? Why and how is it celebrated? Let us learn a little about the history of this enthusiasm-filled festival, shall we?

When do we celebrate Lohri?

This year, Lohri is celebrated on the 13th of January, during Makar Sankranti and Uttarayan. People come together during this day, and celebrate it with great enthusiasm, delicious food, and also sing and dance around a bonfire.

The land of Punjab is known for its sharing, caring, color, and agricultural prosperity. Lohri, being a community festival symbolizes the rich culture and tradition of Punjab.

The Significance of Lohri

Lohri also signifies togetherness. Families come together and share the food they cook. It is also a great day to perform Sunderkand Paath or Satyanarayan Katha. During the time of Lohri, you can see families cooking Sarson Ka Saag and Makki Ki Roti for sure. The atmosphere is filled with laughter and happiness during lunch/ dinner hours, especially when the women of the family gather around the traditional chulas to make roti.

Prasad Made During Lohri Puja

Lohri prasad consists of the five most important items. The items are til/sesame seeds, peanuts/moongphali, jaggery, and popcorn/phuliya. People also offer popcorn to Agni during the bonfire on the day of Lohri. Families also perform puja on this day to seek the blessings of the gods and offer prasad made using the ingredients mentioned above. Performing this puja has become easier, thanks to the option of booking a pandit online via Pujarambh. You can have your questions answered, know the puja vidhaan and complete the Lohri puja as per the vidhi, vidhaan when you book a pandit online.

The History of Lohri Celebrations

The origin of Lohri can be dated back to the Indus Valley Civilisation and was seen in a few northern areas of India as well as Pakistan. Lohri is also celebrated in other parts of the country and is called Pongal in Southern states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Sankranti in West Bengal, and Bihu in Assam.

One can also find various traditional and cultural stories related to Lohri celebrations and events. The most interesting one associated with Lohri is “Dulla Bhatti.” The story goes like this.

Dulla Bhatti was similar to Robin Hood and was popular with the poor during the times of Mughal Emperor Akbar. He used to distribute the loot he plundered from the rich, among the poor. As per the legend, he also saved a girl from the clutches of the kidnappers and raised her as his own.

A few of the folklores indicate that Lohri as a word comes from the root word “loh” which means tava or an iron griddle. This is because the community makes chapattis on the tava during the feasts. As per another version, the word Lohri is taken from the word “Loi” who was the wife of popular reformer “Kabir Das.”

The Science and Symbolism Behind Lohri

Lohri is celebrated just one day before Sankranti, and this is the time when most of the states experience harsh winters. As per Ayurveda, this is the time when the vata and kapha increase in our bodies. Experts have always recommended the use of ingredients like jaggery and til to increase the body temperature. Many believe that this is one of the scientific reasons behind using til and jaggery in Lohri prasad.

Also, the Lohri bonfire helps everyone to beat the cold temperature, keeping them warm. Symbolically, the fire also is an indication for people to prepare themselves for the coming harsh weather.

Lohri Traditions and Customs

There are many traditions and customs associated with Lohri, and a few of them are mentioned here. As per the ancient tradition, just a few days before the festival, kids of the household go to their neighbor's houses and ask for Lohri items like cow dung cakes, sugar, til, or jaggery. It is said that this is still practiced in many households in Punjab, and kids even sing traditional songs or verses. They are given rewards, items, or even money as a part of the blessings and festivities.

Lohri puja is performed in many households without fail. While some of them perform the puja by themselves, a few families invite a pandit home for the same. Households can now hold a Lohri puja with ease by booking a pandit online via Pujarambh.

During sunset, all the people of the community gather in an open space and light up the bonfire. The common items that are added to the bonfire are wood, cow bung cakes, sugar cane, and logs. All the items that have been collected are also added to the fire as an offering. Then, the prasad is distributed to everyone. The whole mood during the bonfire is quite exciting, and there are traditional performances like Gidda or Bhangra too. The celebrations come to an end with a scrumptious feast.

Now that you know all about Lohri and why it is celebrated, make sure to follow all the traditions, and celebrate the festival with your near and dear ones. If you wish to perform a puja on Lohri day, remember that you can always book a pandit online via Pujarambh.

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