What are the customs & legends of Lohri?

What are the customs and legends of Lohri?

In the morning on Lohri day, children go from door to door singing and demanding the Lohri ‘loot’ in the form of money and eatables like til (sesame) seeds, peanuts, jaggery, or sweets like gajak, rewri, etc. They sing in praise of Dulla Bhatti, a Punjabi avatar of Robin Hood who robbed the rich to help the poor, and once helped a miserable village girl out of her misery by getting her married off like his own sister.

Lohri Rituals:

  • Lohri is primarily the harvest festival of the Punjabis.
  • This festival denotes the harvesting of the Rabi crops and hence all the farmers get together in order to thank god for giving them such a wonderful harvest.
  • The rituals related to Lohri symbolize the attachment of the people with Mother Nature. A few days before the festival, youngsters get together in groups and go round their localities singing folk songs.
  • Doing this they also collect firewood and money for the bonfire that is scheduled on the night of Lohri. On the special day, offerings of phulley (popcorn), moongphali (peanuts) and rewri (a sweet delicacy made out of jaggery and sesame seed) are offered to the fire
  • The men and women go round the fire and bow before it in reverence. Lohri holds special importance when there is a special occasion in the family like marriage or childbirth.

Lohri Traditions:

  • Lohri is primarily the harvest festival of the Punjabis. This festival denotes the harvesting of the Rabi crops and hence all the farmers get together in order to thank god for giving them such a wonderful harvest.
  • The rituals related to Lohri symbolize the attachment of the people with Mother Nature.
  • A few days before the festival, youngsters get together in groups and go round their localities singing folk songs.
  • Doing this they also collect firewood and money for the bonfire that is scheduled on the night of Lohri. On the special day, offerings of phulley (popcorn), moongphali (peanuts) and rewri (a sweet delicacy made out of jaggery and sesame seed) are offered to the fire.
  • The men and women go round the fire and bow before it in reverence. Lohri holds special importance when there is a special occasion in the family like marriage or childbirth.

Lohri Legends:

  • Like all Indian festivals, Lohri also has some legends and lore attached to it.
  • One of the many interesting legends has it that in a place that lies between Gujaranwala and Sialkot, there was a thick forest known as Rakh.
  • The forest was the home of Dulla Bhatti, a dacoit who was considered as the Robin Hood of Punjab.
  • This brave and generous man was always helpful to the needy.
  • During the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, a jealous Hindu spread a rumor that his niece was very beautiful and would do credit to the Muslim harem.
  • On hearing this, the Mughal officers wanted to carry her off forcibly. The girl’s father was extremely worried and sought the protection of Dulla Bhatti.
  • Dulla at once got her married to a young Hindu boy at a simple ceremony in the forest. He lit the sacred fire in keeping with the Hindu custom.
  • Since there was no priest to chant the holy mantras, he broke into a hilarious song composed extempore to add cheer to the occasion. This song is sung even today on the occasion.

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