Lohri Celebrations: How It Is Celebrated In India
Lohri is not just a festival for the people of Punjab, but a symbol of life. This harvesting festival is associated with hopes of farmers, as they believe that the fields promise a golden yield to them. The festival is extremely special for newly wed couples as they would be celebrating their first Lohri together. Apart from the newly wed couples, Lohri is also special for couples who have been blessed with new born baby, especial a baby boy, as he would be celebrating his first ever Lohri. However, the traditional approach has today changed and paved way for the festival which is today seen more as an occasion of get-together for families.
Children visit every house in their neighborhood asking for their contributions for bonfires to be lit in the evening and also inviting them. They sing songs of Lohri in the praise of Dulla Bhatti, the Punjabi version of Robin Hood, creating a festive mood all over the place. They start collecting fire woods and wooden twigs one week before the festival actually arrives. These fire woods are arranged in a circular manner to form a huge bonfire. Traditional food is prepared on this occasion for dinner that includes sarson ka saag, makki ki roti and for desserts; there are numerous sweets like rau di kheer, ganne ki kheer, pinnie, atta ladoos, coconut chikki, dry fruit chikki, kurmura ladoos and shengdana chikki.
People dress in new clothes and gather around the bonfire in the evening. They lit and offer prasad to the sacred fire. This prasad comprises of five main things, namely, til, gajak, gur, moongfali, phuliya and popcorn. The people then offer prayers to the fire for abundant crops and prosperity. Thereafter, they greet each other by wishing “Happy Lohri” and spreading the feeling of love and happiness all around. Traditional Lohri songs and dances like bhangra and gidda simply add to the celebration of Lohri. Children and women get an extra attention on this occasion. The entire atmosphere creates a perfect ambience of Lohri.