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The new year always brings with it a renewed sense of hope and joy. This is very true, especially for the farmers of India, who toil hard during the whole year and eagerly await the period of harvesting.
Image Source - Indian Express
Also, being a land of diverse cultures and festivals, India also bears witness to some of the most exciting harvest festivals. While the period of harvest is celebrated in different ways all over the country, one of the most popular celebrations of harvest is…
The Festival of Lohri
Lohri is a harvest festival that is mostly celebrated in the northern states of India like Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The festival marks the end of winter solstice and is believed to be a celebration to welcome the long days of summer.
Popularly known as the festival of farmers, the celebrations of Lohri are marked by different types of traditional songs and dances. Lohri is usually followed by other harvest festivals like Pongal in South India and Makar Sankranti in the western parts of India.
When is Lohri Celebrated?
The festival of Lohri is linked to the Bikrami calendar and is usually celebrated on 13th January, every year. It is followed by the celebration of Makar Sankranti on the 14th or 15th of January.
History of Lohri
Image Source - India Today
According to ancient tradition, Lohri was celebrated at the end of winter solstice to mark the arrival of longer days. It is believed to have originated near the Himalayan mountains where winter is usually colder than the rest of the Indian subcontinent.
This is believed to have given rise to the tradition of lighting bonfires during Lohri celebration. It is said that farmers lit bonfires near their houses after the season of rabi cropping. They also joined other farmers and gathered around the bonfire to sing and dance together.
Significance of Lohri
Although the history of Lohri indicates the celebration of the end of the winter solstice, the festival is also signified by the worship of different Hindu Gods.
The festival of Lohri is marked by the worship of Agni – the God of Fire along with the worship of Surya – the Sun God.
How is Lohri Celebrated in India?
As mentioned before, Lohri celebration is signified by the lighting of bonfires. Since, it is widely celebrated in Punjab, various sweets like Makki di roti, Gajak and Sarson da saag are distributed among loved ones.
People also eat til rice, which is a mix of jaggery, puffed rice and sesame seeds. While traditional sweets are distributed among family and friends, the festival of Lohri is also famous for its various songs and dances.
Image Source - DNA India
Bhangra, Gidda and Chajja are traditional dance forms that are performed during Lohri celebration. Moreover, people play huge dhols and also sing Punjabi songs during this festival of Lohri.
The festival is one of the first Indian festivals of the new year and is celebrated with great energy and excitement. Lohri is also one of the most important festivals for farmers as they rejoice and also hope for a good harvest.
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