In the present time, the concept of Lohri is all about bonfire, fancy foods, food baskets and dancing on the tunes of hit chart buster. But, do you know the traditional meaning of holy bonfire and why people together take revolve around it post sunset? Well, it has a deeper meaning which is all about paying gratitude to the almighty and dancing to the beats of the dhol and enjoying a scrumptious feast. It is a festival that belongs to the region of Punjab and mostly celebrated in northern part of India. On this day foods like til (black sesame seeds), gajak, gur (jaggery), peanuts and popcorn are fed to the fire as part of the harvest ritual. Lohri is also linked to ‘Winter Solstice’ – the shortest day and the longest night. It, in fact, marks the end of winters and the onset of spring. Here are5 important things that you need to know about Lohri.
Many of us are not aware that the word Lohri comes from ‘Tilohri’ i.e. ‘til’ meaning sesame and ‘rorhi’ meaning jaggery/gur. Eventually, the festival was just referred to as Lohri. It is believed that these both food ingredients help cleanse the body, bringing renewed energy for the New Year. That’s why foods like jaggery, gajak, til ki chikki are offered to the fire as a way of paying gratitude to nature.
Importance of bonfire
It is believed that offering food items to the God of Fire on this day helps take away all negativity from life and brings in prosperity. Here, the bonfire symbolises Lord Agni. After offering food to the almighty, people seek blessings, prosperity and happiness from Lord Agni.
Walking around the bonfire
It is also believed that if one walks around the fire on Lohri, it helps in bringing prosperity. In Punjab, this festival holds special value for the new brides. Many devotees believe that their prayers and concerns will receive an immediate answer and life will be filled with positivity.
Festival of harvest
Lohri marks the New Year for Punjabi farmers. On this day, the farmers pray and show gratitude for their crops before the harvesting begins and pray to Lord Agni to bless their land with abundance. They chant “Aadar aye dilather jaye” i.e. “may honour come and poverty vanish” while moving around the fire.
Magic of winter foods
The discussion of Lohri is incomplete without winter foods that are cooked and celebrated on this day. The traditional Punjabi menu on this day includes sarson da saag and makki di roti, til ki barfi, gur ki roti, makhane ki kheer, panjiri, pinni, till laddoo, gondh ladoo and more.