Hyderabad as we know is a melting pot of cultures and festivals. Be it Diwali, Eid or Christmas, the City celebrates every festival with equal gusto. And one such festival is Lohri. Celebrated by the Punjabi population in the City, this festival is also known as the bonfire festival. Lohri falls on January 13 and is known for its fun-filled festivity, observed by the Punjabi community for a good harvest.
Punjabis in the City are gearing up for the festival with lot of zeal and enthusiasm. Lohri is marked by a range of traditional activities like lighting the ritualistic bonfire in the evening, dancing to the beats of the dhol after relishing traditional homemade dishes, singing popular folk songs around the bonfire.
Ranjit Sethi, a Punjabi settled in the City said, “My brother got married this year so we have a special reason to celebrate Lohri. This year we will celebrate it at our farmhouse in Medchal. Lohri is not just a festival for the people of Punjab, but a symbol of a rich life”.
Apart from celebrating the good harvest, there are more reasons that add joy to the festival. Lohri also celebrates fertility in Punjabi families. The first marriage or birth of the male child in the family calls for special celebrations during Lohri. The first Lohri of a new bride or a newborn baby is considered extremely important.
While celebrating Lohri, all the family members light a bonfire and sit around it. The festival begins when the family forms a circle around the fire and walk around it throwing in offerings. The huge bonfires are lit in front yards and people gather circle around and offer puffed rice, popcorn and other munchies into the fire while singing popular folk songs. It is an offering and prayer to the fire god. After the prayers winter savouries are served around the bonfire along with the traditional dinner.
On Lohri day, children go from door to door singing and demanding the Lohri ‘loot’ in the form of money and eatables like peanuts, jaggery, or sweets like gajak, rewri, etc. They sing in praise of Dulha Bhatti, a Punjabi avatar of Robin Hood who robbed the rich to help the poor. Doing the bhangra around thebonfire is another popular tradition while celebrating Lohri.
Lohri almost coincides with the festivals of Makar Sankranti and Pongal all of which communicate the same message of oneness and celebrates the spirit of brotherhood while thanking god for a bountiful life on earth.