Lohri is a very popular carnival at Punjab and is celebrate with maximum zeal and enthusiasm in the state. Mainly celebrated to mark the departure of the Winter it is synonymous with the Pongal of Tamil Nadu, Sankranti of UP, Bihar and Karnataka, Bhogi of Andra Pradesh and Bihu of Assam. Although it is related with the harvest season and gathering of grains, in Punjab it is celebrated as a matrimonial fete of the newly married couple to strengthen the marital bondage.
Description of the Lohri Festival in Punjab:
The Lohri Festival signifies the Exodus of Winter. Fêted with tremendous zeal and enthusiasm, this festival involves lighting of a bonfire and throwing of grains, sweets, puffed rice and pop-corn into the fire as an offering to the Lord. Aside there is a live Puja performance where six indispensable materials are a must- til, gazak, moongphali, gur, phuliya and popcorn.
Children go from door to door and ask or the Prasad. Actually the Fire-God is venerated by the aficionados. He is worshipped and begged for plentiful crops, and wealth. People know that the blessings of God are indispensable for the continuance of life.
“If I accept the fact that a god is absolute and beyond all human experiences, he leaves me cold. I do not affect him, nor does he affect me. But if I know that a god is a powerful impulse in my soul, at once I must concern myself with him, for then he can become important… like everything belonging to the sphere of reality.”
The new born child of a couple, especially the first child is also made to participate in the Puja, because it is regarded as auspicious for the child. The dinner after the Puja consists of the famous makri ki roti and sarson ki saag.
Along with continuous offering to the bonfire, men and women sing and dance and circumvent the bonfire. This is also known as Parikrama. With colorful costumes and heartfelt devotion they intone the traditional songs and the Parikrama persists. After the Puja, Prasad is distributed among the friends and relatives. Since the harvest is over by this time, people are free and enjoy the colorful fiesta.
Time for the celebration of the Lohri Festival:
This fete is generally celebrated in the month of January and 13th January is the due date. It falls in the month of Pausha or Magha. It is a day before the Makar Sankranti Festival. So, this fiesta is very much linked to the Solar Movement, and marks the recess of the winter. Lohri is a colorful panorama worth a visit.