History and significance: The main winter crop of Punjab, wheat, is sown in October and is seen at its prime in January across the fields of the indian state. The crop is then by and by harvested in March but after weeks of harvesting the Rabi crop, people would gather around a bonfire and celebrate the casual of the winter solstice and the promise of the coming spring temper as Lohri in January. Another limited significance attached to the celebration of Lohri is that on this day, the sun enters the Rashi ( zodiac ) of Makara ( Capricorn ) which is considered auspicious as it signifies a fresh start. A few accounts attribute the origin of the festival to the Himalayan mountain region where the winters are colder than the respite of the country. A legend attributes the celebration of Lohri to the fib of ‘ Dulla Bhatti ’ who was a local hero of the Punjab region and during the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar, worked as a savior of the people and was considered the ‘ Robin Hood ’ of Punjab as he would steal from the deep to provide for the poor. He famously saved a group of young girls from being sold into slavery. He would arrange the girls ’ marriages to the greenwich village boys and provided them with dowry from the stolen plunder. Amongst these girls were Sundri and Mundri, who have immediately come to be associated with Punjab ’ south folklore, Sunder Mundriye. His deeds have been passed down as a caption and are profoundly inculcated in the Punjabi folklore. On Lohri, ‘ Dulla Bhatti ’ is celebrated and versatile songs and dances are performed in his respect. As per Punjabi folklore, the folk music song, Sunder Mundriye has a special place in the hearts of women who have grown up hearing the stories of Dulla Bhatti or Abdullah of Pindi Bhattian. The song goes like this : Sunder munderiye ho! (Beautiful girl)
Tera kaun vichaara ho! (Who will remember you?) Dullah Bhatti walla ho! (Dullah of the Bhatti clan!) The festival is besides dedicated to the sunday deity, Surya, as on this day the devotees expect it ‘s returning after the cold winter days and ask it for warmth and sunlight. Celebrations: Each year the festival of Lohri is celebrated with the traditional bonfire. Along with offering prayers to the Gods for a healthy harvest which has brought prosperity to the families, people besides offer peanuts, gur qi rewari, and makhana ( fox nuts ) to the bonfire, and then dance around it while singing democratic folk songs. This is as an act to please the fire deity. Unlike most festivals in India which witness people visiting family and friends and distributing sweets and so forth, Lohri celebrations are marked by people gathering at a common position and setting up a huge bonfire with diverse kinds of dulcet delicacies on expose for eating together. The vibration turns wholly joyous when everybody dances to the beats of dhol and the celebration is incomplete without the energetic moves of Bhangra and Gidda. People decorate their homes and dives into the delectable feast served as Lohri is all about toasting traditional gaiety and excitement, relishing delectable food and putting your best foot forward when you step out. In Punjab, the festival is celebrated by eating sheaves of roast corn from the raw harvest and since the January sugarcane crop besides wraps up during this time, many sugarcane products such as gurh and gachak are central to the celebration food.
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