New Delhi: Lohri, the Punjabi harvest festival, will be celebrated on January 14, Wednesday this year. Lohri festival is a celebration of the winter crop season. Prayers are offered to Surya, the Sun God, on this day. Lohri is observed just a night before Makar Sankranti, a festival that marks the end of the month with the winter solstice and beginning of longer days. Lohri is a traditional welcome of longer days and Sun’s journey to the northern hemisphere by Sikhs and Hindus in Punjab. It is an official restricted holiday in the state.
Lohri traditions and rituals:
1- On Lohri festival, the Hindu and the Sikh communities light a holy bonfire that signifies passing of the winter solstice.
2- Bonfires, an important part of the festivities, are lit as families dance to Punjabi folk songs.
3- Festive food include groundnut, sesame-jaggery mixed sweets called rewari and popcorns.
4- People also fly kites on this day and the sky is dotted with multi-coloured kites like “Tukkal”, “Chhaj”, “Pari” of different sizes and shapes carrying Happy Lohri and Happy New Year messages.
5- Makar Sankranti fosters the spirit of brotherhood while Lohri is observed as a celebration of new harvest.
6- Women perform gidda, the folk dance of Punjab and men perform bhangra dance to celebrate the Lohri festival.
7- Bonfire and folk songs are a major part of the celebration, and prayers are offered to the holy fire followed by distribution of sweets and prasad (holy offerings).
8-The Lohri festival is observed the night before Makar Sankranti or Maghi.
9-The main winter crop of Punjab – wheat, which is sown in October is seen at the prime form of January across the fields of Punjab. The crop is then later harvested in March.
10- On Lohri, prayers are offered to Earth, Sun God, the fire and the fields for prosperity, health, and good harvest.