FACTS & FIGURES
Time of the year - January 13
The festival Lohri signifies the harvesting of the Rabi crops. The people of Northern India, especially Punjab and Haryana celebrate Lohri, to mark the end of winter. Harvested fields and front yards are lit up with flames of bonfires, around which people gather to meet friends and relatives and sing folk songs. Children go from house to house singing and collecting money and sweets, which they throw into the bonfires.
For Punjabis, this is more than just a festival; it is also an example of their love for celebrations. Lohri celebrates fertility and the joy of life. People gather around bonfires, throw sweets, puffed rice and popcorn into the flames, sing popular and folksongs and exchange greetings.
The day begins with children collecting Lohri, which is in the form of money or sweets. In the evening, winter savories are served around a bonfire. Celebrated enthusiastically, this festival marks the end of the chilling winter of the northern part of India.
Children go from door to door singing songs in praise of Dulha Bhatti, a Punjabi version of Robin Hood who robbed the rich to help the poor. These 'visitors' are given money and gazak, bhuga, til, moongphali, gur, and rewri. Munchies, collected from each house, go around the party and are also thrown into the fire.
The festival assumes greater significance if there has been a happy event in the family during the year gone by, like the birth of a male child or a marriage. The family then plays host to relatives and friends wherein the eats take a back seat and merry-making takes over. The celebration with the traditional bhangra dance along with the dhol, gidda and light-hearted flirtation mark this festival.
There is a popular belief in Punjab that blessings are bestowed on the family of the person who asks for a radish roasted in the bonfire of a family that has reason to celebrate.
Being a harvest festival celebrated to relax and enjoy the post harvest time, the festivities of this time are legendary. The tradition of bonfires, community get-togethers and the demanding of Lohri by the children are some of the practices that have been followed since ages and are an integral part of the festival.
PLACES TO VISIT
Generally the festival is celebrated all over India though it is known by different names. The festivities too are almost similar to each other showing the general characteristic behavior of the Indian farmers. But the beauty of the Lohri bonfire and the Bhangra that goes along with it can only be witnessed in Punjab.