Shri Guru Nanak brought into existence what we know as Sikhs. Sikhism was established in the 15th century. Punjabis are residing mostly in Lahore and Punjab. Gurumukhi is the religious scripts followed by them. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru developed the concept of brotherhood, Khalsa. Speaking about the grantha and scripts and discussing the religious culture that Punjabis have, why to forget the cultural festivals they celebrate. Punjabis celebrate some fun and amazing festivals. Baisakhi, a harvest festival, Hola Mohalla, Lohri another harvest festival, Karwa Chauth, a festive for married people, Basant Panchmi, a festival of Spring, Melas like Chappar Mela, Jor Mela and Gurupurab, celebrating the birth of the first Sikh Guru.
Here, we discuss Indian Festival Lohri, an annual festival celebrated every year on 13th January. It is mainly celebrated in the Punjab region mainly by the Sikhs and the Hindus.
When the cold breeze and fog are all around on the planet, and the on the longest night is on its edge, Lohri is celebrated. The flames of the pious fire, burnt in Lohri reach heights and touches the blues. Festivals are incomplete without music and fun. There are music and traditional folk going around the fire to make the festival interesting and memorable. Lohri marks the shortest day and longest night. Lohri signifies the winding up of winter. It hails the coming of longer days, basically, specifying the movement of the sun to the northern hemisphere. Along with this, the day is also known for the kind Dulla Bhatti who was a saviour to the two girls who were in the trap of the Mughals. The songs of Lohri includes the story of Dulla Bhatti saving the two Hindu girls. Lohri generally comes a day prior to Makar Sankranti. Makar Sankranti is also known as Maghi in some parts of the country. Maghi means the starting of the month of Magh.
Lohri is the folk festival of Punjab, marking the good harvest of sugarcane in the month of January. Preparation is done at its peak. The best of all things is needed by everyone. However, the main arrangements begin just the day prior to the festival.
The bonfire :
The children and the males collect the twigs, sticks and small branches to make the grand bonfire. The greater the bonfire is, the more everyone enjoys, the more it looks beautiful. Elements like til or sesame seeds, gur or jaggery, peanuts, gajak and popcorn are given to the fire as a part of a tradition. In some parts of the country, dry fruits are also harvested into the fire.
Festivals mean colours and happiness all around. The day of the year where everyone from child to grandparent gets dressed in their traditional wear. The ethnic look enhances the essence of any festival. In Lohri, men wear kurtas and pyjamas. Along with it, they carry a pagdi on their head. The pagdi marks a tradition. Some men also carry a fancy cloth around their neck that matches their kurta or the colour of pagdi. Women dress in Patiala suits and salwar. They also wear heavy ornaments made of gold. They carry a lot of jewellery like earrings, maang tika and nose pins. Also, to wear a maang tika is a tradition among Punjabis. Moreover, it enhances their beauty.
Men, women and children, all filled with zest and enthusiasm, dance and sing around the huge and warm bonfire. All the members of the family are dressed in ethnic clothes and perform their traditional Giddha and Bhangra. Obviously, a festival of Punjabis without Bhangra is impossible. People dance their hearts out on the beats of dhol nagadas. Bright and colourful outfits, singing and dancing, the warmth of the huge fire burning makes Lohri a special festival. Some of the songs sung in Lohri mentions the story of Dulla Bhatt and two Hindu girls, Sundari and Mundri.
The song goes like :
Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicharaa ho!
Dullah Bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paata ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chacha gali dese!
Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!
Bum Bum bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari itt!
Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pitt!
Sanoo de de Lohri, te teri jeeve jodi!
This is sung by the people together to express their gratitude.
Festivals sounds synonymous to good food. Punjabis are known for their rich taste in food and spices, enjoys a delicious menu on this auspicious day of Lohri. The menu includes Til Rice (a bowl of rice flavoured with sesame seeds), Makki di roti (bread made from cornmeal) and Sarson da saag ( a dish made of Fenugreek leaves). Til rice is also known as Ticholi in some parts of the country. In dessert, they have something known as rau di kheer which is basically a kheer(rice dish) made of sugarcane juice. Jaggery and nuts are obviously a part of the festive cuisine.
Being an important festival of the year, it is special for the new ones. New one here means a newly married bride or a just born baby. Whenever there is a first Lohri after a marriage or a birth, friends and relatives are invited to the house. There is a huge celebration. When there is a marriage, the bride gets herself ready in a full traditional outfit with all the solah shringar done. The couple sits as a centre of attraction for everyone. The elders, friends and family relatives gather on this auspicious occasion to bless the couple with all the love and happiness. When there is a birth in the family, everyone from the maternal side of the family along with the paternal side gathers and do events. They bless the child with all the health and prosperity.
However, people of urban areas celebrate Lohri in their communities to gather and spend some quality time with their friends, relatives and family. Irrespective of whether one is Punjabi or not, it is an agricultural festival celebrated and enjoyed by all.