Lohri (लोहड़ी, in Hindi) – the Harvest Festival – the very first festival celebrated in India as per the English Calendar.
Going by the Hindu Calendar, Lohri festival is celebrated in the 10th month which is called the Paush month. The Lohri festival indicates the end of winters and is celebrated on 13th January each year, a day before Makar Sankranti festival which is celebrated on 14th of January. It is the day when the month of Paush ends, Magh starts.
Historically, Lohri festival is owned by the Punjabi and Dogra cultures. The origin of Lohri festival in India can be traced back to a popular story of Lohri having Dulla Bhatti as its central character. It is said that Dulla Bhatti lived in Punjab when Akbar was the emperor of India. He used to rob off the rich like Robin hood in order to help the poor.
India, historically and evidently being a country of agriculture and the economy based on the farming, Lohri marks an important festival as it is associated with the significance of farming and the winter crop calendar. North India, specially Punjab, grows wheat (and other Rabi crops) as its main winter crop. It is sown in October and harvested in the month March or April. Thus, the farmers celebrate Lohri festival during this period of January before they cut and gather the crop – expecting and praying for a good harvest.
This harvest season marks in almost every major parts and corners of India.
- East India celebrates Makar Sankranti on the next day (14th of January)
- South India celebrates Pongal on the next day (again 14th of January)
- Some part of South India also celebrates Bhogi around this (14th of January)
- Assam celebrates Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu during this time (15th of January in 2017)
All these festivals are marked with harvesting season. Celebrating the true agricultural India.
For the fun loving Indians, Lohri is not only a festival but a celebration that expresses their exuberance, energy, hope and enthusiasm for life. Lohri is a community festival which is celebrated with family, friends, villagers and neighbors. It marks the day of the Winter Solstice – historically the revenue of winter harvests were collected on this very day.
Bonfire is the most integral part of the celebration. In the evening, when sum sets, people gather around the bonfires and make merry through dancing and singing around the light.
And of course with various rich food and sweets. Some of most traditional (and, mandatory) food items are Gajak, Sarson da saag with Makki di roti, Radish, Rewdi, groundnuts and Gur (Jaggery).
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!
(Laugh,cry or howl!)
Who will think of you?
Dulla of the Bhatti clan will do this!
Dulla’s daughter got married!
He gave one kilo of sugar in marriage!
The girl wears a red suit!
But her shawl is torn!
Who will stitch her shawl?
The uncle made choori (bangle)!
The landlords looted it!
Landlords get beaten up!
Lots of gentle boys came!
One gentle boy was left behind!
The soldier arrested him!
The soldier hit him with brick!
Give us Lohri, long live your pair!
Whether you cry, or bang your head later on!