Lohri: The Bonfire Festival

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Lohri: The Bonfire Festival
Lohri marks the end of the winter, a time when Sun heads to the North and shines stronger to prepare the climate for the new crops, which are to be sown soon. Lohri is an exclusive Punjabi festival and is also associated with the worship of fire.

This festival celebrates the zeal of welcoming spring and bidding goodbye to the winters. On this day, whole family and neighbours gather in the evening and lit bonfires, and celebrate by singing and dancing around the fire. In different parts of the country, Lohri is known by different names but embarks the same impression.

Why is Lohri celebrated?
Lohri is celebrated to remember the Indian Robin hood Dulha Bhatti. It is believed that he used to rob the riches and distribute the wealth among the poor. Once, he rescued a poor girl who was forcefully taken away. He adopted that girl and raised her with great care. He then arranged for her marriage with a Hindu boy and gave kilos of sugar as a marriage gift. He was a hero for the villagers and they used to respect him a lot. Most of the folk songs for Lohri are sung in his praise to express gratitude to him.

How is Lohri celebrated?
Lohri is celebrated all across India, but you can witness amazing enthusiasm in the states of Punjab and Haryana. People start collecting woods since the morning. Young boys and girls go door to door, singing folk songs. The elders of the house give them gifts along with jaggery, sweets and peanuts.

Later in the evening, people gather around the bonfire and take its circles while singing folk songs. Men and women perform folk dances, like Bhangra and Giddha, around this bonfire.

Prasad in Lohri?
Once the prayers are offered to Lord Vishnu and Agni Devta, people distribute five main things among the gathering. These five things include til, chirva, gazak, peanuts and popcorn. People share dinner together and bond with each other. In the last, people take dying embers of the fire to their homes as a good luck charm.

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