Pehli Lohri Nu Lakh Lakh Vadhaiyaan!! - to Newly Wed Couples
Lohri Festival is a celebration of winter solstice meaning a mid-winter festival, celebrated to indicate the end of the freezing winter season and welcoming the days becoming longer and warmer as the Sun moves northwards. Furthermore, it is closely linked with the harvest of the Rabi crop by the farmers of Punjab. Another name of Lohri Festival is Lal Loi and is closely associated with Maghi, i.e. Makar Sankranti which is celebrated the very next day and this is considered as the first day of the financial year followed by the Punjabi farmers.
History of Lohri Festival
It has roots connected from the late past of Indus Valley civilisation which prospered from areas extending in the northern Pakistan and India, the regions similar to those where this festival is observed till date and that too in similar fashion. Acknowledged by several diverse names it is called Magha Bihu in Assam, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Tai Pongal in Kerala and Makar Sankranti in West Bengal.
What is Lohri?
A typical Punjabi folk festival observed by the Sikhs and the Hindus all over India. Lohri in Punjab is a carnival of a lot of pomp and show of the abundant resources with the Punjabi families. Lots of food, clothes and dances in various feasts organised just lift up your zeal to its peak during in these celebrations.
Many mythological believes and stories exist behind the celebration of the festival, however being a celebration in an agricultural dominant country, its origins are profound and present a unique cultural display. Preparation of this festival starts months before, during the winter season itself. Young and teenage boys of Punjabi families start gathering dry twigs, hay, wooden logs and leaves to be burnt in bonfire. They sing Punjabi folk songs and Lohri songs and start early during that morning, go door to door in their neighbourhood and collect Lohri which generally comprises of sugar, gur, gazak, phulliya, moongphali, sweet savouries and often money. It is considered auspicious to give away some Lohri to these children and returning these children empty handed is believed to invite bad luck to the family. Moreover, for families who are preparing to welcome a new member in their family through marriage or a new birth their request for such fond treats definitely increases. Later, at night these collections are given away as Prasad to everyone present.
How do we celebrate Lohri?
Being a winter festival bonfire is the main attraction of this harvest festival whereby families and friends dressed up in colourful and vibrant clothes collect and fire is lit up late in the evening after the sunset at the open village square which symbolises Agni the god of fire. Later Pooja is offered to Goddess Lohri made from cow dung and Parikrama is done around this fire, chanting the mantras and Lohri songs while throwing away Gur, Seeds and other seasonal harvests in the fire, which symbolises burning away of the passing old year and welcoming the beginning of the new year, thanking and praying for abundance, prosperity and growth. Furthermore, Prasad is distributed, which comprises of pop corns, gur, til, gazak, phulliya and moongphali which was collected way early during the day. Sugarcane, nuts, mustard greens and radish are central to Lohri celebrations as they are the harvest of October to January months.
All this is followed by the traditional yet lavish dinner which comprises of mostly Sarson da Saag with Makke di Roti, Gazak, Gur, Til, radish, dishes of moongphali and many more Punjabi cuisines. Traditional dish “Tricholi” made by mixig gur, rice and sesame seeds is also the main attraction of the deserts served.
First Lohri- Special For Newly Weds
First Lohri celebrations of the newly wed couple calls for a major festivity and is celebrated on a grand scale. The newly wedded bride wears all new colourful clothes, Chuda and other traditional jewellery and has to look her best for the First Lohri after Marriage and so the groom too is expected to wear new clothes and a colourful matching turban with his wife’s clothes. They are supposed to present a Gidha dance in front of the guests and the bride is expected to give away gifts to her family members, new relatives, friends, guests and in-laws. The new couple also receives gifts from the guests present including jewellery, make-up kit, sweets, clothes and sometimes money. Furthermore, the newly wed seek Aashirwaad for prosperity, peace, happiness and growth from the elders and the family members, as they enter a new phase of their lives.
A lot more has changed with the changing patterns of life and increasing geographical distances among the loved ones. The sweetness of traditions and love still mesmerises but the way of presentation of such a feeling has changed. As against giving away the traditional gifts now people living in far lands try to send fancy and useful gifts to their loved ones on this sacred occasion. Fabulous gifts are available online and in stores to be delivered to those you care. These are Gur Khasta, Moongphali gazak, Rose petal Chikki, Atta Laddoo, Til Patti, Til ke Laddoo, Dry fruit Chikki etc packed in eye catchy wraps.
Bollywood and the Punjabi folk singers seem to have contribute a lot in making the celebrations full of energy and make your heart go wild for a while. Here we share a couple of Songs for Lohri which have and will continue to add life to this grand festivity.
1. Bari Barsi Kahatn Gya si, Kaht ki Liyande Dana
Nee Mitran De Pind Langh ke Taaitto pair Pattiya Ne Jaana.
Is a song full of swag and beats of the dhol and bhangra makes one dance like no other.
2. Massa leya Meri janna Aj Din Massa Leya
Sagna Te Gidha Teri Dadi Puhawe…
Is a perfect song to welcome a new born to the family since this Lohri is the baby’s first Lohri. Females of the family, all the relatives and loved ones along with the new mother sing and dance on this number. A very sweet song with Dholak beats portrays the love and blessings showered on the new born.