Lohri – the Festival of Harvest

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.

Around India

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.

Celebration

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

lohri bonfire
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.

Food

Lohri Food
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).

Song

Lohri Song 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!
Zamindaar sudhaye!
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!)
in English Hey Beautiful girl!
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!

Celebrating the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

2017 has been declared as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by United Nations. The declaration recalls the potential of tourism sector to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The #IY2017 will promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas.

  1. Inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
  2. Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction.
  3. Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change.
  4. Cultural values, diversity and heritage.
  5. Mutual understanding, peace and security.

2017 presents a unique opportunity to explore and highlight tourism’s potential to help transform our world into a place of prosperity and well being for all.

It is a unique opportunity to advance the contribution of the tourism sector to the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental, while raising awareness of the true dimensions of a sector which is often undervalued.UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai

As one of the largest and fastest-growing socio-economic sectors of our times, tourism can stimulate economic growth, create decent jobs and business opportunities, helping millions of people escape poverty and improve their livelihoods. The tourism sector accounts for 7% of worldwide exports, 10% of the world’s GDP and one in eleven jobs. Even then this sector is almost ignored as a mainstream economic portfolio in many countries and societies. If managed well, it can foster inclusive economic growth, social inclusiveness and protection of natural and cultural assets.

Inclusive and sustainable economic growth

  • 4% or more annual increase in international tourist arrivals since 2009
  • 7% of total world exports and 30% of world services exports
  • US$ 1.5 trillion in exports from international tourism in 2015
  • 10% of world GDP

Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction

  • One in every eleven jobs globally
  • Largest export category in many developing countries
  • 57% of international tourist arrivals in 2030 will be in emerging economies
  • Almost twice as many women employers as other sectors

Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change

  • Committed to reducing its 5% of world CO2 emissions
  • Raises financing for conservation of heritage, wildlife and the environment
  • Can be a vehicle for protecting and restoring biodiversity
  • Must sustainably manage an expected 1.8 billion international tourists in 2030

Cultural values, diversity and heritage

  • Revives traditional activities and customs
  • Empowers communities and nurtures pride within them
  • Promotes cultural diversity
  • Raises awareness of the value of heritage

Mutual understanding, peace and security

  • Breaks down barriers and builds bridges between visitors and hosts
  • Provides opportunities for cross-cultural encounters that can build peace
  • A resilient sector that recovers quickly from security threats
  • A tool for soft diplomacy

This mandate of declaring 2017 as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development is an initiative to make tourism as a prevailing medium for economic growth, culture preservation and social stability.

We, at Born2C, are glad with the declaration and look forward to making ideas happen for Sustainable Tourism.

Some text & content from tourism4development2017.org

The Art of Block Printing

Block Printing is the ancient craft of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is one of the oldest types of printmaking, and has been around for thousands of years. Scraps of cloth found in the ruins of  Mohenjo Daro, an ancient city of the Indus Valley Civilization, provide evidence that block printing was practiced in India as long ago as 3000 BCE. The process of block printing takes time, team work and especial skill.

The three main tools of a block printed fabric are the wooden blocks, the fabric and the dye.   Block printing can be done with wood, linoleum, rubber, or many other materials.

The Process

  • First step is to sketch the design.  It is important to reverse the image if you are using text, as the printed image will be the reverse of what is on the block.  Once the image is ready, It can then be transferred on to the linoleum or wood to give an outline of where to carve.
  • Next is to carve the design.  Carving is done on the parts which you don’t want to print, as the ink will be applied to the raised surfaces to print the design. Carving a block can take anywhere from an hour for a small piece, to several weeks or even months depending on the size and detail of the image.
  • The fabric to be printed is first washed free of starch.
  • If tie-dyeing is required, this is done before the printing process. In case fabric is dyed, it is washed thereafter, to remove excess color. It is dried in the sun.
  • The fabric is then stretched over the printing table and secured with pins.
  • Color is mixed separately and kept ready. So are the blocks. The blocks are made of teak wood and hand-carved. They are soaked in oil for 10-15 days to soften the timber.
  • The color is kept in a tray which rests on another tray that contains a liquid made of glue and pigment binder. This gives the color a soft base and permits even spreading of color on the block.
  • When printing begins, the color is first evened out in the tray. Then the block is dipped in the outline color.
  • The block is pressed down hard on the fabric, to make a clear impression. Thereafter, other blocks are used to fill in color.
  • Once the fabric is printed, it is dried in the sun. It is then rolled in newspaper to prevent the fabric layers from sticking to each other.
  • The fabric is then steamed.
  • Thereafter, it is washed in water and dried in the sun.
  • Ironing is the final stage.

 

Colours/Dyes

Vegetable or Natural Block Printing Inks

  1. Black: This color is produced by mixing an acidic solution of iron (rusted nails/horse shoes etc) with jaggery (unrefined country sugar) that has been allowed to rot for about a fortnight.
  2. Red: This dye is made by a material such as alizarin with alum. The resulting colors range from pink to dark red. The color red is also extracted from the madder root.
  3. Blue: Is obtained from the indigo bush found all over India.

Pomegranate skins, the bark of the mango tree, vinegar and slaked lime are also used to make block printing inks.

Block Printing Pigment Inks

These colors are first mixed with kerosene and binder before they are used. Once mixed, they can be stored for a few days. Pigment inks are popular because of this and also because they give a variety of hues. They can also be mixed with each other to create new shades. Moreover, they do not change color once they dry on the cloth. Therefore the artist knows exactly what shade he will get once the fabric is printed.

It must be kept in mind that it is vital that the consistency of this block printing ink be right; if too thick it will stick out in lumps on the textile.

Block Printing Rapid Fast Colors

These inks come in the standard colors: black, orange, brown, red and mustard. Unlike pigment inks that may be mixed to create unique colors, rapid fast colors are limited in color variation, and also it is not possible to know the final color from before. When using these colors, the ground color and the color in the design are printed in one step. Rapid fast colors cannot be stored.

Block Printing Discharge Dyes

If printing in white or other light color has to be done on a dark cloth, the block printing ink to be used is the discharge dye. This dye contains a chemical that reacts with the dark color and bleaches it, while at the same time coloring the bleached area with the desired light color.


In Rajasthan, colorful prints of birds, animals, human figures, gods and goddesses are popular. The important centers for this form of hand printing are Jaipur, Bangru, Sanganer, Pali and Barmer.

  • Sanganer is famous for its Calico printed bed covers, quilts and saris. In Calico printing, the outlines are first printed, and then the color is filled in. Bold patterns and colors are popular. They are printed repeatedly in diagonal rows.
  • Bagru is famous for its Syahi-Begar prints and Dabu prints. The former are designs in a combination of black and yellow ochre or cream. The later are prints in which portions are hidden from the dye by applying a resist paste.
  • Barmer is known for its prints of red chilies with blue-black outlines, surrounded by flower-laden trees. The other famous prints are of horses, camels, peacocks and lions, called Sikar and Shekahawat prints.

 

Experience this ancient craft of Rajasthan with our Born2C program

https://www.born2c.com/programs/programinfo/block-printing-pottery-in-jaipur