HAPPY LOHRI & MAKKAR SANKRANTI : ON 13TH & 14 RESPECTIVELY
CELEBRATION OF LOHRI (ON 13th JANUARY 2017)
Every festival is associated with some legendary figure – well known
Or a particular season
Or definitive & popular occasion
Which affords us chance for celebration
With our nears and dears participation
In which we share our joys with huge elation.
Lohri is a winter festivals of repute
Falls in the month of January – desi month of Paush
Marks the beginning of end of winter season
And start of hot days ahead soon.
For farmers it is one of the happiest occasion
For they start harvesting seasonal crop – rabi crops
Start of Spring Season is a Natural bounty
Adds additional spice to the festivities.
(Rabi Crop: Wheat, Gram, Pea, Mustard, Linseed, Barley, Peas)
Traditionally on Lohri Day a bonfire is lit
People congregate around it
And reverently offer, Jaggery (gur), sesame seeds (til)
Sesame coated sugar candy and popcorn are put into leaping bonfire
The skyward leaping fire
The bonfire too demonstrates that it is enjoying all acts of hers
Gathering partake the sacred parsad (offerings)
With satiety mixed with joy writ large in everybody’s face.
Offerings too is made to ‘PANJ TATAVAS’ – five elements
Fire, water, ether, earth and wind
Going around the bonfire with great reverence
And singing traditional songs with dance makes the festivities more charming
And that too in tune with beating of drums
Children enjoy it all most immensely.
Tradition has it that there was a very brave person of repute
Named Dulla Bhatti from lineage of warrior race of the Rajputs
In the reign of Mughal king Akbar
He used to rescue poor girls from the clutches of robbers
And got them married to suitable boys
People sing Lohri songs with highest reverence
And shower utmost admiration to the courageous one.
Thence another legend of the origin of Lohri
Connected with Saint Kabir and his wife named ‘Loi’
Herself a lady so pious
Kabir was lovesick for his spouse
At pitch dark night, when the house was locked from inside
On the first floor she was peacefully sleeping just fitfully
He took the help of a rope, just dangling nearby
To climb to reach her place
When asked by his doting wife how he had entered
He took her to show her the rope for an easy climb
Whilst she saw that in person
She was aghast to find a huge python dangling
Which was taken as an help for entering
Then she scolded her husband
With the pithy and terse words
So much so you’re so obsessed for her love
That you took a huge python for a rope!
Wish that you possessed the same attraction & passion
For the God in the Heaven
Then you would have ensured your salvation
This way Kabir got a most suitable lesson
He determined for total devotion to (God) Bhagwan
And earned him the image of renowned ‘Saint Kabir’
Who is revered by the people in general
For his pearl of wisdom-filled (dohas) verses, so engrossing.
India being a home to multicultural, multilingual and multi-religious society. We can take pride in having different festivals. These festivals are season based, tradition based, culture based, religious based or National festivals like Independence Day & Republic Day or for that matter any other considerations . But the fervour and enthusiasm that accompanies with these festivals is second to none. It is here that all communities enjoy Eid or Gurpurab or Diwali or all of us enjoy Christmas Day. That is the beauty – unity in diversity. I do not dispute that hotheads are there in any strata of life who do not know either about their own religious festivals nor of others. One thing which pleases us is the shine on the faces of every one while celebrating any festival! That is more powerful than anything else.
Lohri festival is celebrated in Northern Indian states. It is generally celebrated on 13th January – in the month of Paush or Magha, one day before Makar Sankranti. We term this festival as a community based festival where Bhangra (dance by men folks) and gidha (dance by women folks) to the beats of drums bring verve and gaiety to the celebrations. Seasonal dry fruits like peanuts, jaggery eatables besides milk cakes are specially made and distributed amongst relatives and friends. It is celebrated in Northern States of India like Punjab, Jammu, Haryana, Delhi etc while Sindhi community celebrate it as Lal Loi.
Following are some of the reasons for its celebration:-
It marks the end of winter and beginning of harvest season. It infuses vitality and zeal in the lives of people – especially the farmers. It symbolizes prayer to fire (Agni puja) in the evening. People take a few parikarma (rounds) around the bonfire and shower offerings to fire. Special bounties are asked for the wellbeing and prosperity besides peace in the entire households. Newly wedded couples and newly born receive special attention on this festival. Those families who are blessed with their offspring and the ones whose sons or daughter’s marriage was held during the year, distribute sweets amongst neighbours and friends.
The legend of Dulla Bhatti (Rai Abdullah Khan) is very popular. It is a legend of a Rajput warrior who saved a damsel in distress BELONGING TO HINDU RELIGION from the clutches of lustful robbers. The valiant Rajput adopted her as his own daughter and married her off to a young and suitable Hindu body. He also gave her presents – nine mounds of sugar etc as gift on her marriage. This shows the community feeling during those days. If during those days feeling for each other was rampant then why not now – that is a bit perplexing!
A song is sung for this legend:
Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicharaa ho!
Dullah Bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paata ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chacha gali dese!……
(This song is related to a beautiful girl who was brought up by Dulla Bhatti and he got her married to a suitable boy in her marriage he gave her jiggery measuring one ser. The girl is in her red attire but with torn shawl she is thus married off. Now give us something on Lohri; do anything but give me something and the youth laugh and cry in their own curious way)
LEGEND IN CONNECTION WITH SUN GOD
Lohari marks the beginning of the end of winter season on the final day of Paush. On this day Sun God is worshipped as a thanksgiving for providing us heat. A special Mantra is chanted in praise of Sun God while circling round the bonfire.
(ON 14TH JANUARY THIS YEAR)
Lohri too is linked with Makar Sanranti
Celebrated one day after celebration of Lohri
Which too is another winter festival of repute
14th January – indeed very sacred too
It marks the beginning of solar maagha masa
Makar Sankranti is start of harvest festival
And beginning of pleasant Spring Season
A pleasant of all seasons.
It has its origin to the movement of the earth
Sun movement begins from (Sankranti) one zodiac sign
Into another – Capricorn zodiac (Makar) sign
Two movements are termed as Makar Sakranti.
This day marks the beginning of warmer days
As the sacred months start from this day onwards
Makar Sankranti is celebrated with great fervor
In western and northern India
There is a mention of this day in Mahabharata
As, it is the festival of Sun God
Who gives us light and heat
To living beings without bias
And bestows us divinity and wisdom
Thus holding an eternal meaning.
Makkar Sankranti is celebrated in the month of Paus (January) Makar Sankranti is the day when the Sun God enters the Northern Hemisphere. Hindus like Greeks worship Sun God – the giver of immense energy. Sun God is termed as the manifest God, having all the glorious divinity. It is worthwhile to mention here that Gayatri mantra, which is from Rig-Veda, was specifically made in the praise of Sun God is chanted with great fervor and enthusiasm. Sun God not only bestows us heat energy but also intelligence and sagacity. It goes to show that Makkar Sankranti is associated with cosmic event which affects the life of humans immensely.
Gyatri Mantra, from RIGVEDA is chanted fervently by the devout:
AUM BHUR BHUAH SWAH, TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM
BARGO DEVASYA DHIMAHI, DHIYO YO NAH PRACHODAYAS
(We meditate on the glory of God, God who posses huge power, a Creator of everything who gives us happiness, who is pure and purifier, let us embrace that God so that He directs our mental faculties in the right direction).
This festival is celebrated with gaity and fervor in all the parts of India with different names but the enthusiasm remains the same. Devout get up early in the morning, take bath in holy rivers and offer prayers in the temples. After having offered prayers, people give alms to the needy according to their capability. In the afternoon people share a special Kichri (Hotchpotch) made of rice and black dall uradh.