Lohri 2018: Also known as ‘harvest festival’, Lohri is celebrated in Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi. The festival celebrates the harvesting of rabi crops and is marked by singing of traditional folk songs, dances and feast. The festival is celebrated on January 13 every year. The festival marks the end of sowing season and the onset of the farming season.The festival marks the commencement of harvest time and beginning of warm weather and longer days. Lohri is celebrated by igniting a bonfire in the evening and offering seasonal crops to the fire. People gather around the bonfire and offer traditional foods of Lohri to the sacred fire which includes popcorn, till (sesame) ladoos, peanuts, puffed rice, gur or jaggery. But it is interesting to know why these offerings are made to a bonfire.
Well, it is very much understandable that bonfire symbolises the Sun god and people offer food to the fire in the hope of getting blessings. The fire is also a symbol of purity and people feel that it brings an end to evil and negativity. The festival of Lohri is also considered auspicious for newly married couples and to-be parents. Also if we look into how the festival is celebrated we can get the idea of why such offerings are made to fire. After the sunset, people gather as a community in front of a bonfire lit in the locality or in a farm. The men perform Bhangra which is a traditional Punjabi dance while women perform Gidda also a form of Punjabi dance. Farmers also offer ‘Phulle’ to the fire as a show of gratitude to the Sun god and chant shlokas by saying ‘Adar Aaye Dilather Jaye’ which translates into ‘May prosperity arrive and poverty depart from our house’. After the puja, jaggery, gajak, til, peanuts, popcorn are distributed as prasad.