LOHRI – Bonfire Festival

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India is the country which is the amalgamation of myriad cultures of different religions & communities. The amazing part is every element of that diverse culture be it religions, cuisines, philosophies, festivals, traditions, have a profound impact all around the world.

One of the popular festivals of North India which is celebrated during winters is LOHRI, which is also known as the Bonfire Festival or the Harvest festival. It is primarily known to be the festival of Sikhs & Hindus. It is celebrated on the night just before Makar Sankranti. As every festival has its own significance & a history behind its celebration, Lohri is the festival dedicated to Sun God & is a festival to worship fire.

Generally, it falls on 13th or 14th of January month & this year the festival falls on 13th of January, 2018. Children have a great zeal for this festival. Before one week of the festival, children start collecting logs for bonfire & they sing folk songs. When the bonfire is burnt on festival night, it brings the society together. Every family of the community contributes sweets made of Til & Gurh or jaggery (as the special ingredients), Peanuts, popcorns & many home made dishes. Another reason of its celebration is the harvesting of Rabi crops, the crops grown in winters. So, it has a great importance for farmers.

When a bonfire is lit during the night, People pray to god & with their prayers they take rounds around the fire which gives warmth in cold winters. While praying they put Gurh, peanuts & popcorn in bonfire as offerings to Sun God. The first Lohri after a recent marriage & childbirth is celebrated with much more zeal & excitement. Singing & Dancing becomes the part of those celebrations on the beating of the Dhol. Punjabi Songs & celebrations rejoice every soul. ‘Sarso ka Saag & Makki Ki Roti’ is served as the main course in dinner.

Many rituals are associated with this festival & all the symbolic representation shows it as thanks giving to nature. It coincides with Pongal, Bhogi & Bhogali Bihu & these festivals are celebrated in other parts of India. These festivals are also celebrated in the same manner. They burn those wooden materials which are no longer useful to them. So, the festival is celebrated as discarding of old things & concentrating on new ones with positivity. They leave their old vices & attach themselves to good things. So this gives a new meaning to their lives by transformation & purification of souls.

Many states of the Country celebrates this festival in its own way & with their own beliefs and not only in India but the same kind of festivals can be seen celebrated outside India like festival Yule is observed during Christmas, Hogmanay, a fire festival celebrated on the new year in Scotland. Overall, the moral is the same as our religion teachings i.e. to respect others, to be thankful to God for everything we got, to purify soul & mind.

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