Punjabis celebrate Lohri, a punjabi folk festival
Lohri is a popular winter time Punjabi folk festival, celebrated primarily by Sikhs and Hindus from the Punjab region in the northern part of India.
The festival commemorates the passing of the winter solstice. It marks the end of winter season, and is a traditional welcome of longer days and sun’s journey to the northern hemisphere. It also celebrates marriages and births.
Lohri is celebrated with traditional dancing and singing around the bonfire. Logs of wood are piled together for a bonfire, and friends and relatives gather around it. They go around the fire three times, giving offerings of popcorns, peanuts, rayveri and sweets. Then, to the beat of the dhol, people dance around the fire. Prasad (blessed food) of til, peanuts, rayveri, puffed rice, popcorn, gajak and sweets is distributed. This symbolizes a prayer to Agni for abundant crops and prosperity.
Food is provided which includes Gurh, solidified and unrefined sugarcane juice,
sheaves of roasted monkey nuts, seasame seeds, It is traditional to eat Gajak, Sarson da saag (spinach) with Makki di roti (corn chappatti).
The first Lohri of a bride
The first Lohri of a bride is considered very important. It is celebrated with the family gathered around the fire. The newly married woman wears new bangles, applies henna or ‘mehndi’ on their hands and put a colorful bindi on their foreheads.
The new bride of the family on her first Lohri, is presented with clothes and jewelery by her in-laws.
The first Lohri of a new born
The first Lohri of a new born is a special occasion in which all friends and family are invited. Guests bring gifts for the baby and the new mother.
Lohri this year is Sunday 13th January 2019.