Traditions and Rituals of Lohri Festival – Bornfire, Song and Dance
Lohri is an ancient mid winter Hindu festival, in regions near the Himalayan Mountains where winter is colder than the rest of the subcontinent. It has been named as the unique festival of the Punjabis and does represent their nature of spreading joy and happiness. The very famous western culture of bonfire was actually practiced since ages in India as Lohri.
1. Children seem to be the most excited ones for the festival. A week before Lohri, these kids begin gathering firewood, hunting for logs that will burn well.
is an important festival which brings the entire community together, each
family contributing sweets made of til and gur, peanuts, tilchowli and many
other delicious home-made delicacies.
3. Unique delicacies are prepared which are savoured together with all the family members and friends.
4. The Punjabis and Sikhs prefer chanting the Guru Granth Sahib and meditate before the fire.
5. People consider fire as the Sun God and make contributions to him to bring in success and happiness into the family for the upcoming year. It is capable of stimulating the growth of cornfields and the well being of man and animals.
6. It is the time when the sun transits the zodiac sign Makar (Capricorn), and moves towards the north. In astrological terms, this is referred to as the sun becoming Uttarayan.
7. The new configuration lessens the ferocity of winter, and brings warmth to earth. It is to ward off the bitter chill of the month of January that people light bonfires, dance around it in a mood of bonhomie and celebrate Lohri.
8. Lohri, which marks the highest point in winter, is considered especially important for new born babies who are taken around the bonfire.
9. They pray for prosperity even as they make offerings of til (gingelly), moongphali (peanuts) and chirwa (beaten rice) to the burning embers.
After the night of bonfire celebrations, the Hindu would mark Makar Sankranti and go to a sacred water body such as a river or lake to bathe.