Lohri : Punjab : India

 

About Lohri

Boliyan (Songs)

First Lohri

Gifts

Messages

Recipe

 

 

 


About Lohri

Lohri Festival marks the end of winter on the last day of Paush, and beginning of Magha (January 13 every year), when the sun changes its course. It is associated with the worship of the sun and fire. The Lohri of north India coincides with Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Makar Sankranti in Bengal, Magha Bihu in Assam, Tai Pongal in Kerala, all celebrated on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti.

The origin of Lohri is related to the central character of most Lohri songs is Dulla Bhatti, a Muslim highway robber who lived in Punjab during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Besides robbing the rich, he rescued Hindu girls being forcibly taken to be sold in slave market. He arranged their marriages to Hindu boys with Hindu rituals and provided them with dowries. Understandably, though a bandit, he became a hero of all Punjabis. So every other Lohri song has words to express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti. Some believe that Lohri has derived its name from Loi wife of Sant Kabir, for in rural Punjab Lohri is pronounced as Lohi. Others believe that Lohri comes from the word 'loh', a tawa used for baking chapattis. Another legend says that Holika and Lohri were sisters. While the former perished in the Holi fire, the latter survived. Eating of Til and Rorhi is considered to be essential on this day. Perhaps the words til and rorhi merged to become tilorhi, which eventually got shortened to Lohri. Ceremonies that go with the festival of Lohri usually comprises of making a small image of the Lohri goddess with uple, decorating it, kindling a fire beneath it and chanting its praises. The final ceremony is to light a large bonfire at sunset, toss sesame seeds, gur and rewaries in it, sit round it, sing, dance till the fire dies out.

After the parikrama, people meet friends and relatives, exchange greetings and gifts, and distribute prasad. The prasad comprises five main items: til, gajak, jaggery, peanuts, and popcorn. Winter savories are served around the bonfire with the traditional dinner of makki-ki-roti and sarson-ka-saag.

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