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Lohri, a popular annual festival in North India, is celebrated with utmost gusto and zeal! Check out the space below to know when to celebrate Lohri 2023, its significance, and MORE!
Ah! Spring is on its way over, and winter is on its way to bid goodbye!
Lohri doesn't need any introduction! It is one of India's richest and most-loved festivals that brings a wave of excitement across India. Even though Lohri is celebrated with great pomp across different regions of the country, in Northern India, predominantly in Punjab, the festivities are on another level.
If you are in North India, this is the time of the year when everyone is busy with the Lohri preparations. Now, let's get to know more about the Lohri festival, shall we?
Lohri, the unique bonfire festival, marks the passing of the winter solstice. It commemorates the end of the winter season, and the beginning of the spring (Vasant), after which we can experience happy sunny days. Generally, Lohri falls on the 13th of January as per the Gregorian calendar. Traditionally, Lohri is celebrated a day prior to Makar Sankranti. This year as the Makar Sankranti falls on 15th January 2023, Lohri 2023 will be observed on 14th January 2023.
Here is the date and timing of Lohri 2023.
This well-known festival is celebrated with immense zeal in North India, especially in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, some parts of Himachal Pradesh, and Pakistan.
The harvest festival, Lohri, marks the end of the colder days. This is the harvest season for farmers, especially in Punjab, when they begin to reap the bounty of their harvest, which consists of Rabi crops. This harvesting festival is when the year's festivities begin with a gracious tribute to the farmer for their hard work that helps us lead comfortable lives. Lohri holds great significance for people, especially people belonging to the Sikh faith and community.
According to the Bikrami calendar, the auspicious Lohri festival is celebrated in Pausha in the Indian subcontinent. It is closely associated with the auspicious Makar Sankranti, also known as Maghi, as Lohri is celebrated one day before Makar Sankranti. In Punjab, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Maghi Sangrand. It is also celebrated around the same time as Bhogali Bihu.
Being mid-January, Lohri marks the end of the winter. During this time, it is believed that the Earth, which is farthest from the Sun, starts to move towards the Sun. This ends the Pausha month, the coldest month of the year. With Lohri, people welcome the warmer and longer days and the heat of the Sun. As the daylight increases, people believe it ushers in a pleasant morning of hope and brightness.
Lohri is primarily a harvest festival that the Sikh community passionately celebrates. This harvest festival is particularly for the Rabi crops. Wheat is the main Rabi or winter crop and is the primary crop in Punjab. It is usually sown in October each year and harvested in March or April. By January, the fields come up with the promise of a fresh crop and begin growing, giving the farmers the hope of a golden harvest. This bonfire festival marks the resting period for the farmers in the state of Punjab before the cutting and gathering of the crops. This resting period and the celebration of Lohri is a happy time.
Lohri is also an annual thanksgiving festival. This is because the farmers show their gratitude to the divine almighty for the rich harvest and abundance. Furthermore, in accordance with the Bikrami Calendar, the Lohri festival is observed to welcome the new financial year for the farmers. Rents are collected on this day, and the new agricultural tenancies start on the occasion of Lohri; therefore, the festival is observed as a new financial year. Astrologically, this is when the Sun transits in Capricorn (Makar) and moves towards the North. This is known as the Sun becoming Uttarayan.
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According to one legend, it is believed that Lohri comes from the term 'loh,' which means light and warmness of fire. Lohri is known as 'Lohi' in some parts of rural Punjab. This renowned festival is celebrated out of people's homes in courtyards and fields around a bonfire. The festivities start on the morning of the day of Lohri.
Let’s get to know what people do during the Lohri festival.
A week before Lohri, the children start gathering firewood and logs that will burn well. The excitement in children regarding this festival is unparalleled.
During the morning, children go from one door to another, singing folk songs in praise of the Robin Hood of Punjab, Dulla Bhatti. The children are given savories, sweets, and occasionally money as they knock on people's doors. Turning children back empty-handed is deemed inauspicious. The collection gathered by children consists of peanuts, puffed rice, popcorn, Gajak, Til, etc., which are distributed among all the people gathered at night.)
With the setting Sun, huge bonfires are lit outside, and people gather around the rising flames in their finest clothes. As per the folklore of Punjab, it is believed that the flames of the bonfire on Lohri carry the people's prayers to the Sun God or Agni so that the Sun God can offer warmth and make the crops flourish. In exchange, the Sun God blesses the land and ensures an end to cold days. In a way, the bonfire symbolically depicts the brighter and happier days ahead in people's lives. People consider the flames to be an embodiment of the Sun God. This is why people make contributions and pray to the Almighty to bring them success and bless their land with abundance and prosperity. Moreover, the bonfires are used to ward off the bitter chill of the January cold.
People do Parikrama or circle around the bonfire and throw popcorn, peanuts, etc., in the fire.
Once the Parikrama is done, people exchange pleasantries, greetings, sweets, and gifts with their friends, family, relatives, and neighbors. The Prasad consists of popcorn, peanuts, Gajak, Til, and jaggery and is distributed among everyone gathered for the celebration. Everyone enjoys the night by indulging in traditional folk music, singing, and dancing.
If a family has recently witnessed childbirth or marriage, the Lohri celebrations have a higher pitch of excitement and enthusiasm. The first Lohri of a newlywed couple, especially for the bride, and a newborn child, is considered significant and auspicious. Lohri is the occasion when the newly married woman's parents and in-laws give presents to her, consisting of new clothes and jewelry. Innumerable blessings are showered upon the newlywed couple. The mother of the newborn baby decks herself up and receives gifts and blessings from near and dear ones.
People also organize functions or dance competitions. This is the time to participate in festivities and seek blessings from the elders. Lohri brings everyone together to celebrate the occasion and enjoy the scrumptious homemade delicacies. Gud, peanuts, Chikki, Gajak, Halwa, and Kheer, are some of the major delicious food items prepared and savored by people with their family members and friends. A traditional dinner of Makki-ki-roti and Sarson-ka-saag is eaten, along with sweets. The festival ensures everybody has a night of fun and frolic.
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Lohri is one of the greatest Indian festivals, and it is synonymous with Punjab and Haryana. People have a lot of faith in this occasion, leading to people indulging in grand celebrations across the country. Traditionally, the festival of Lohri is a Punjabi folk festival. Therefore, the grandeur that can be seen around this festival in the state of Punjab, as well as Haryana, is unrivaled. Furthermore, the entire northern part of India participates in the festival with tremendous enthusiasm and zeal.
Lohri is celebrated with pomp and splendor. The celebrations and gatherings make Lohri a community festival that is enjoyed and celebrated by many. Not only is Lohri a massive deal in Punjab, but it also brings together communities all over India to celebrate the festival in front of the spectacular bonfire. Nowadays, the celebrations of Lohri usually have taken a grand scale among different regions of the country, making Lohri an occasion that garners a lot of love.
The festival of Lohri truly encapsulates Punjab's true spirit and culture, as this festival involves traditional folk music and dances, such as Bhangra and Giddha, around the bonfire. The celebration of Lohri offers everyone the opportunity to take a break from their routine life and enjoy some fun time.
All in all, Lohri is celebrated with great pomp and zeal. This bonfire festival is celebrated enthusiastically, and the winter air is filled with joy and gaiety.