Nowadays, Lohri is all about bonfires, expensive cuisines, food baskets, and dancing to the music of hit chartbusters. But, do you know what a holy bonfire signifies in the traditional sense, and why people gather around it after sunset? Well, it has a deeper significance, which is all about expressing thanks to the almighty while dancing and feasting to the rhythms of the dhol.
Lohri, which takes place on the night before Makar Sankranti, is a traditional winter folk festival from Punjab that is widely observed in northern India. Farmers from all around the country attend this annual harvest festival. As part of the harvest ritual, foods such as til (black sesame seeds), gur (jaggery), gajak, popcorn, and peanuts are offered to the fire. Lohri is also associated with the shortest day and longest night of the year, known as the 'Winter Solstice.' It actually signifies the end of winter and the arrival of spring. Here are some interesting facts about Lohri that you should know.
The Lohri Concept
Many people are unaware that the word Lohri derives from the words 'Tilohri,' which means sesame or 'til' and 'rorhi,' which means jaggery or 'gur'. The celebration was eventually known as Lohri. These two culinary items are thought to help detoxify the body and provide fresh energy for the New Year. As a form of gratitude to nature, foods such as jaggery, gajak, and til ki chikki are fed to the fire.
The Significance Of Bonfire
Offering food to the God of Fire on this day is thought to help remove any negativity from one's life and bring wealth. Lord Agni is represented by the bonfire here. People pray to Lord Agni for blessings, prosperity, and happiness after presenting food to the almighty.
Circumambulating The Sacred Bonfire
On Lohri, it is also believed that circumambulating the sacred fire will bring fortune. This festival is especially important for new brides in Punjab. Many devotees believe that their prayers and problems will be answered quickly, and that their lives will be filled with joy.
For Punjabi farmers, Lohri is the start of the new year. Farmers, on this day, pray and give thanks for their crops to Lord Agni to bless their land with prosperity before beginning the harvest. While walking around the fire, they chant "Aadar aye dilather jaye," which means "may honour come and poverty disappears."
Winter foods are cooked and enjoyed on this day, without which Lohri is incomplete. Sarson da saag and makki di roti, til ki barfi, gur ki roti, makhane ki kheer, panjiri, pinni, till laddoo, gondh laddoo, and other classic Punjabi dishes are on the menu on this day.