Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India
Lohri » How to Celebrate Lohri?

The History of Lohri

How to Celebrate LohriLohri is a joyous time to celebrate by eating gur and peanuts, singing songs and share the warmth of a bonfire with family and loved ones. A week before Lohri, children start gathering firewood, hunting for logs that will burn well. A spirit of good-natured rivalry binds the community together and every one takes pride in making the biggest and most grand bonfire in their neighborhood.

In the evening of Lohri, the fire of the bonfire blazes high and a circle of warmth surrounds the people on this cold winter's night. The wood crackles and burns and the people gather around, their faces glowing red and gold. Lohri is essentially a festival dedicated to the Sun god. As the Sun moves towards the Uttarayan, the new configuration bestows warmth to mother earth. The seeds that lay dormant for the want of heat, now sprout forth.

Lohri is an important festival which brings the entire community together, each family contributing sweets made of til and gur, peanuts, tilchowli and many other delicious home-made delicacies. The Guru Granth Sahib praises this auspicious time of the month and says those who meditate before a fire will be blessed. Lohri, which marks the highest point in winter, is considered especially important for new born babies who are taken around the bonfire.

They pray for prosperity even as they make offerings of til (gingelly), moongphali (peanuts) and chirwa (beaten rice) to the burning embers. According to legend, a good Lohri sets the tone for the whole year ahead — the more joyous and bountiful the occasion, the greater will be the peace and prosperity. Some people believed that Holika and Lohri were sisters. While the former vanished into the fire, Lohri survived and lives on.

The rituals and celebrations associated with Lohri are only symbolic of a common thanksgiving to nature as represented by the Sun god, and in the process, the festivities embody a spirit of brotherhood, unity and gratitude, with family reunions and merrymaking generating a lot of happiness, goodwill and cheer. It is also the one day when the womenfolk and children get attention. The first Lohri of a bride is extremely important. The first Lohri of a newborn baby, whether a girl or a boy, is also equally important. Children go from door to door singing and asking for the Lohri prasad.

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