5 Fun Facts About Lohri

time-lapse photography of a burning bonfire surrounded by people in a camp

India is a culturally diverse country has a number of festivals, right from Makar Sankranti, Holi, Diwali, Durga Puja and all; one of them is Lohri. Lohri has been mainly known to be celebrated by Punjabis for the end of the winters and start of a new year, but there are several facts about the festival which you might be unaware of.
3.The origin of the name ‘Lohri’
The origin of the name of the festival has 2 beliefs: one, which says that it originated from the word ‘Loi, which was the name of the wife of Saint Kabir (a very famous poet and saint) and the other, says that the name originated from ‘Loh’, which means warmth and signifies the light of fire. People often believe either of the two to be the reason behind the origin of the name of the festival.
2.The Story behind the Lohri Song
After people walk around the bonfire built as a ritual and offer their prayers, the people gather and sing Lohri songs like “Sunder Mundriye” (a Lohri scene from the movie Veer Zara has this particular song playing in the background when the actor sees the actress in the traditional attire). The origin of the song is said to be related to the legends of Dulla Bhatti, (or Dukka Bhatti) who lived in Punjab during Akbar’s reign and was considered as the ‘Robin Hood’ of the time. He had released young girls being captivated and trafficked to the Middle East. 
The origin of the song is also linked to Dulla Bhatti; it is said that one of the girls whom he had saved from being captive was known by the name ‘Sunder’ and Dulla Bhatti had adopted her and married her like she was his own daughter.
“Sunder Mundriye ho!
Tera Kaun vichaara ho!
Dullah Bhatti walla ho!
Dulhe di dee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!”

4.The offerings to the bonfire
People offer rewri and peanuts to the bonfire (where a small mud statue which denotes the Lohri goddess is made) as they are the fresh produce of the season, and people are offered to eat gajak (sweet peanut biscuit) as ‘prasad’ and makke ki roti and Sarson ka saag( the famous Punjabi cuisine) to mark the end of the winters (Paus) and start of the new year (Magh). Apart from these traditional offerings, a salty element offered to the fire includes popcorn. This might make you wonder whether the majority of popcorns go in the stomach of the offeree or the actual bonfire?

5.Importance in the Sikh community
Lohri marks the harvest of the Rabi crop as per the farmers of Punjab, and January is the time to harvest their produce; so this is considered as the harvest festival-where they celebrate the harvest of the season and pray for a better harvest in the coming years. Although there are other festivals that are celebrated along with the same ideology, like Pongal in South India, still Lohri is still considered as a part of the Punjabi culture.

6.The increasing Importance of Lohri
It is not just the Punjab region that celebrates Lohri with great fervour but there are people spread across the country and outside the country as well, who celebrate the festival with the same enthusiasm, despite no landholdings. This shows how festivals become a part of even those cultures where their roots don’t lie. There are no boundaries or restrictions that other people or the ones who don’t own land cannot celebrate it.
Each festival has a message to offer and Lohri marks the end of longer nights and beginning of longer days so that people can get more active and start the beginning of the new change in the season with warm hearts, clear thinking and beaming smiles on their face. So, get ready because your social media accounts (especially Whatsapp) are about to be flooded with Happy Lohri messages, GIFs of Punjabi dancing, funny images and above all the spirit of festivity. Its time to beat winters, the old school way and welcome the warmth of good food and good life. 
Here’s wishing you a warm and Happy Lohri!

- Written by Shruti Singh

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5 Fun Facts About Lohri 5 Fun Facts About Lohri Reviewed by EMN on January 12, 2020 Rating: 5

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