A folk festival of Punjab, Lohri is celebrated majorly by the Sikhs and Punjabis in North India. While every year it is celebrated on January 13, in 2020, the festival is falling on January 14.
This festival is also associated with the Bikrami calendar and is celebrated with a great gusto a day before the festival of Maghi, also known as Makar Sakranti. Lohri festival falls in the Paush month of the Hindu calendar and in the month of January according to the Gregorian calendar.
It also holds a great significance for the newlywed couples who, as a tradition, take 7 rounds of the holy fire of Lohri. In the evening of the festival, people gather around the bonfire and throw puffed rice, popcorn in the bonfire. After this ritual, merrymaking continues with dancing on traditional songs.
There are many legends associated with Lohri, one of them being that Lohri was Holika's sister and while the former died in the fire, the latter survived the same. However, the one with the most relevance is the legend of Dulla Bhatti.
The festival of Lohri is considered to be as old as the Indus Valley Civilization. It also has a mix of cultural and historical background attached to it. According to the history of Punjab, the Bhatis, which is a Rajput tribe, used to inhabit various parts of Rajasthan, and also certain territories of Gujarat. This was during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. It was during this time, a man named Dulla Bhatti, who was the then ruler of the tribe was put to death by the Mughals for revolting against him.
It was said that Dulla Bhati used to rob the rich and then give it to the poor (like the popular character Robin hood) and thus was quite popular among the masses. His legends are still popular in Punjab and even the most popular song of Lohri, Sundar Mundariye has his mention.
Once upon a time, Dulla Bhati saved a girl who was taken away by the Mughal officials and then arranged her marriage with a suitable Hindu boy. It is said that this event happened during the harvest time of Lohri. Thus, Lohri is considered to be quite a special festival for the newlyweds.
Major Attractions of Lohri Festival
1. Celebrations. On the eve of Lohri, people gather around a bonfire to make various offerings like til, moongphali, chirwa to the burning embers. It won’t be wrong to say that the festival of Lohri sets a bright tone for the whole year ahead. On this day, people also eat the sheaves of roasted corn from the fresh harvest. Moreover, there is a great demand for sugarcane products also like - gurh, gajak, etc. among the Punjabi community. These food items are an esential part of Lohri celebrations.
2. The Trick or Treat Fun. In Punjab, 10-15 days prior to Lohri, various groups of young teenagers take a stroll in their neighbourhood with the objective of collecting logs (in some places children also collect items like grain and jaggery) for the evening bonfire of Lohri. They do so with one group member who has ash smeared on his face and a rope tied around his waist. The idea behind practicing this ritual is to make sure that no one refrains from giving their share of treat otherwise that boy will try to enter the house and smash clay pots or any other item he finds like a clay stove.
3. The resemblance to Thanksgiving. The Lohri rituals are symbolic to that of thanksgiving. It is a time to be grateful to nature for providing us with a good harvest and its abundance. The festivities showcase a good spirit of brotherhood, unity, and gratitude through family reunions and merrymaking which includes dancing on traditional folksongs.
Punjab, the land of five rivers, is quite a celebrated travel getaway to explore during this festival. It is well-connected via air routes, roads and train networks with other Indian cities. Let’s discuss how you can reach Punjab in a convenient manner using the following routes.
By Air. If you are planning a trip to Punjab then traveling via flight is a very convenient option to consider. The primary airports in Punjab are Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Amritsar and Ludhiana Airport. The Amritsar Airport is located at a distance of around 11km from the city center and is considered to be the busiest airport in all of Punjab.
On the other hand, Ludhiana Airport is also a popular airport that serves the local districts of the nearby regions. Spice Jet, Vistara and IndiGo are some good airline options that you can consider for a visit to Punjab. After you deboard at the airport, you can travel the further distance taking a cab or some other means of transportation.
By Road. Traveling to Punjab via road can definitely be a memorable experience for you as you get to witness the plain yet lush green vistas along the way. The road network connecting Punjab with other cities is quite well-developed. One can easily traverse the geographical boundaries from cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla, and others. From Delhi, you can take NH 44 or NH 52, from Chandigarh and Shimla a good option would be to take NH 44. If you don't have any personal vehicle then you can consider traveling via interstate buses as well.
By Train. You can also give traveling to Punjab via train routes a thought. There are many railheads in Punjab like Chandigarh, Amritsar, Pathankot, and Jalandhar. However, the busiest of them all is the Amritsar Junction. To reach Amritsar Junction from Delhi you can take Amritsar Shatabdi Express from New Delhi railway station and from Kolkata you can take Amritsar Express via Howrah Junction. After deboarding at the station, you can take an auto or a cab to reach your destination.
You can plan your trip and create your own route to the city with Adotrip’s technically driven circuit planner. Click here
14 January 2020
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