Why Indians Celebrate Lohri
Lohri is a Punjabi festival celebrated all across the North Indian states. It is basically a bonfire festival marked by lots of relaxation, merriment, dance, songs and food. Unlike most other Indian festivals that do not have a fixed date, Lohri is celebrated every year on January 13th. Traditionally, it marks the end of the winter season and beginning of the spring season. The origins of the festival are as old as the Indus Valley civilization. In this oneHOWTO article, let’s try to find out why Indians celebrate Lohri.
To mark the change of season
The festival of Lohri is considered as the end of the dreary and unexciting winter season. The next day is celebrated as Makar Sankranti, which marks the beginning of the sunny and bright spring season. This change of season is a very happy occasion for all. Newly wed couples regard it as an auspicious event, and the first Lohri of every couple or new born baby is celebrated with great pomp and show. By lighting fire, they thank the Sun God for keeping them safe during the last winter month.
To remember the Dullah Bhatti legend
In the cultural history of the state, Bhatti existed during Mughal Emperor Akbar’s reign. He was killed by the Mughal king as a punishment to revolt against him. Like Robin Hood, Dulla Bhatti used to rob the rich and wealthy and give it to the poor. He also rescued the Hindu girls who were forcibly taken to the slave market for sale in the Middle East. He used to make arrangements for their marriage to nice Hindu boys. He followed all Hindu rituals and even provided dowry to the groom’s family. Soon, the bandit became a kind of hero for all Punjabis. Almost every Lohri song mentions Dullah Bhatti with love and respect.
To save ourselves
In ancient times, humans used to light fires which kept away wild animals and protected their houses. All people of the community made contribution to this collective bonfire. Young girls and boys used to go to the forest and collect firewood for the fire. Even today, teenagers are sent around the colony to collect cow dung cakes to light the fire. The bonfire that we make on Lohri is symbolic of the way humans have protected themselves and others since ages. It is also considered as worship to the Fire God, as a way to pay homage to keep them safe.
To please Sun God
Fire is largely related to the health and wellness of people. Like water, fire is also a symbol of regeneration and transformation. It represents the sun, which is symbolized with light and gold. It can stimulate growth of crops and also ensure the good health of humans as well as animals. It is an imitation of magic assuring heat and light supply to the earth. It also symbolizes spiritual power and energy. That is why, the fire of Lohri is worshipped like a deity. People offer popcorn, peanuts and gajak to please the Sun God.
To have some fun times
In today’s urban times, Lohri is celebrated even by non-punjabi families, as a way to have some fun together with family, friends and neighbors. The family hosting the Lohri invites all close ones to their house and they have a fun time with great food in the midst of lots of laughter, songs and dance. There is extreme merriment sitting near the fire with the family, warding off the chilled winter temperature.
If you have some fun Lohri experiences or stories, please share them with us below.
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