HEARTIEST FELICITATIONS ON THE OCCASION OF
THE LOHRI – ON 13TH JANUARY 2020
MAY THESE FESTIVALS BRING PEACE, PROSPERITY & HARMONY AMONGST ALL LOHRI
Every festival is linked with some seasons
Or certain well known occasions.
Lohri a winter festivals of repute
Falls in the month of ( 13th Jan) Paush
Marks the end of winter season
And beginning of longer – a little hotter days ahead soon
For farmers, it is one of the happiest occasions
They start harvesting rabi crops
Start of spring season is a Natural bounty
Adds additional spice to 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 into leaping bonfire
The skyward leaping fire
Which purifies the atmosphere
It also shows that it (fire) too is enjoying all acts of hers
Gathering partake the sacred offering themselves too as (parsad) offering
Satiety writ large in everybody’s faces.
Offerings too is made to ‘panj tatavas’ five elements of nature
Fire, wind, water, ether and earth
Going around the bonfire with great reverence
And singing traditional songs with dance makes huge difference.
And that too in tune with beating of drums!
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 of choice
People sing Lohri songs with gust in his praise.
Thence other legend of the origin of Lohri
From the wife of Saint Kabir named ‘Loi’
Herself a lady so pious.
The essence of India lies in multicultural, multilingual, multicultural and multi-religious diverse society. We can pride ourselves in having different festivals too. These festivals are based on seasonal, conventional, cultural, religion based or for that matter any other sacred considerations based on local customs and traditions. Here every caste, religion and regions have contributed its mite for enriching the cultural traditions. One thing, for sure is common, the fervor, warmth, zeal and enthusiasm remains intrinsic as the case may be.
We Indians enjoy all the religious festivals – be it Eid or Prakash Divas/Gurpurab or as a Muslim enjoy Diwali or all of them enjoy Christmas Day together. That is the beauty of India. I do not dispute that hotheads are there in any stratum of society- those who do not know the importance of religious festivals or of others within the society. One thing which pleases us is the perceptible shine on the faces of every one of us while celebrating any festival! That is the beauty of it all remains intact despite some differences notwithstanding.
Lohri festival is celebrated in Northern Indian states. It is celebrated on 13th January – in the month of Pauch or Magha, one day before Makkar 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 which bring vitality and jollity to the celebrations. Youngsters, among others, take pleasure in kite flying and enjoy the occasion to their fullest.
On this festival, seasonal dry fruits like peanuts, grounded coconut are mixed with jaggery (Gur) and sesame seeds (til) to make the eatables. Besides, milk cakes are specially made and distributed amongst relatives and friends. These eatables have nutritional value and are very suitable for in winter season.
Following are some of the reasons for the celebration of Lohri festival:-
It marks the end of winter season and beginning of sowing of some crops and harvesting the others. It infuses vitality and special enthusiasm in the lives of people – especially the farmers. The Lohri festival symbolizes prayer to the fire (Agni Puja) in the evening. The devout take parikarma (rounds) around the bonfire and shower offerings to fire. Fire ritual or Agnihotra (Specially lit fire – Havan) is the process of purifying the environment and people also consign to fire a mix of rice, peanuts, walnuts, almonds besides sesame seeds (til) and jaggery before distributing amongst the devotees and taking the same themselves.
It is believed that the fire ritual has a special significance and possesses healing power besides it helps in well-being of all along with its benefits in farming too. Special bounties are asked on this day for the well-being and prosperity of all besides peace in the entire households. Newly wedded couples and newly born babies receive special attention on this festival. People give alms to the needy on this holy festival.
Different Legends behind the Lohri festival:-
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 the Hindu religion from the clutches of lustful and greedy officials. The brave Rajput adopted her as his own daughter without let or hindrance and married her off to a young and suitable Hindu boy. He also gave her presents – nine mounds of sugar along with other gifts etc on her marriage. This shows that there was a community feeling during those days.
It is important to note that if during those compassionate feelings prevailed for each other then why not now! To appreciate this noble gesture, the people sing the following song describing the event and also mentioning about the beauty of the girl who was saved by the brave Muslim warrior.
We used to go to the houses in our neighbourhood and sing the following song and get sweets made for this particular day. This song is sung by the youngsters even now on this occasion. What a amazing feelings we had while singing the song.
Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicaharaa ho!
Dullah bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paatta ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!
bade bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
There is also a legend of Sant Kabir and his wife names Loi. He used to love his wife immensely. So much so intense was his passion for his wife that one day, he reached his home in the middle of dark night, travelling from a far off place. The door was closed from inside. His wife was sleeping on the first floor. Finding that there was no ladder, he took the help of a rope hanging from the first floor of his house. When his wife saw him, she was very surprised and asked him as to how he had entered the first storey. There upon, she along with Kabir they observed that in fact he had reached first storey with the help of hanging python!
His wife got upset and in desperation remonstrated: The passion which he was having for her, if he had the same fervor for the God, he could excelled in anything including finding the God!
Subsequently, we know the life of Sant Kabir who was a mystical poet whose writings had a deep effect on Bhakti Movement and his verses find place in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji too.
It is relevant to mention about Sant Kabir Ji. He was brought up in a Muslim family but was deeply influenced by his teacher Ramananda but he criticized both in his verses because of his close proximity with both and knew ins and outs of these religions. In his writings, he has emphatically mentioned that the God is only with those who follow righteousness and also one who follows a detached mode of life. His followers are known as Kabir Panthis.
It was due to the timely advise of his wife named Loi that Kabir had a huge transformation in his life and became a well known Sant who influenced millions with his writings. Lodi or Lohri or Loi is also celebrated in his and his wife’s honour who was instrumental in molding him immensely and in turn he influenced innumerable people. His thoughts and philosophy of life are relevant even today.