Nowadays, the Lohri concept is about bonfires, fancy food, food baskets and dancing to the tunes of hit chartbuster. But do you know the traditional meaning of sacred bonfire, and why do people circle it together after sunset?
Well, it has a deeper meaning, which is about being grateful to the Almighty and dancing to the beats of the dhol and enjoying a delicious feast. It is a festival belonging to the Punjab region and which is mostly celebrated in the northern part of India. On this day, foods such as for (black sesame seeds), gajak, gur (jaggery), peanuts and popcorn are fed to the fire as part of the harvest ritual. Lori is also associated with ‘Winter Solstice’ – the shortest day and the longest night. It marks the end of winters and the beginning of spring.
Several tales surround the origins of the Lohri festival.
This is the harvest season for Punjabi farmers as they begin to reap the benefits of their harvest of the Rabi crops – mainly wheat. This period marks the end of the winter solstice, after which we can expect warmer and longer days.
Every year, the Lohri festival is celebrated with the traditional bonfire. Unlike most festivals in India, which witness people visiting family and friends and handing out sweets, etc., the Lohri festivities are marked by people gathering in a common place and making a giant bonfire with different kinds of sweet delicacies. exhibited to eat together.
Many of us are not aware that the word Lohri comes from ‘Tilohri’ i.e. ‘to’ means sesame and ‘rorhi’ means jaggery / gur. In the end, the festival was just referred to as Lohri. It is believed that both food ingredients help cleanse the body, bringing renewed energy to the new year. This is why foods like jaggery, gajak, to ki chikki are offered to the fire as a way to pay gratitude for nature.
It is believed that offering food to the Fire God on this day helps to remove all negativity from life and brings prosperity. Here the fire symbolizes Lord Agni. After offering food to the Almighty, people seek blessings, prosperity and happiness from Lord Agni.
It is also believed that walking around the fire on the Lohri helps bring prosperity. In Punjab, this festival has special value for the new brides. Many devotees believe that their prayers and worries will receive an immediate response and life will be filled with positivity.
The discussion about Lohri is incomplete without winter food being prepared and celebrated on this day. The traditional Punjabi menu on this day includes Sarson da saag and Makki di roti, til ki barfi, gur ki roti, makhana ki kheer, panjiri, pinni, till laddoo, gondh ladoo and more.
Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, Lohri’s spirit continues as people connect over zoom calls with their family members to mark the celebration of this festival. We wish everyone a bright and cheerful Lohri!