Lohri Festival 2013

| August 20, 2012 | 0 Comments

Lohri Festival 2013

 When it happens: Mid-January(Sunday, 13th January 2013)

 Where it happens:  Punjab, Haryana and Delhi in India

History:

Fire is an important element in Hinduism: It signifies energy and spiritual strength, and in that manner, is considered a deity. In Lohri Festival 2013, fire takes on a central role in the celebrations as the consumer of all moments of despair and sadness to give way to warmth, joy and happiness.

As a cultural tradition, Lohri signals the end of the harvest season. In that sense, it is not that different from the American version of thanksgiving because grains are ‘fed’ to the fire while the communities celebrate around this elemental force.

Along with this religious belief and agricultural tradition, there exists a legend that has been incorporated in the Lohri tradition.

The story is about the Indian version of Robin Hood, Dhulla Bhatti, who robs the rich in order to feed the poor. He had rescued a girl once whom he eventually adopted as a daughter. He was however sentenced to death for leading an uprising against the mogul King Akbar. From then on, he was commemorated as a local hero and remembered with a traditional song.

 

About the Event:

Lohri Festival 2013 is particularly important in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, and celebrated in some parts of Himachal Pradesh.

On this occasion, the community or the extended family builds a Lohri bonfire which they consecrate in a ritual and fed with sweets and grain products like popcorn, puffed rice and peanuts. Prayers are chanted, and the devout circle around the fire three times while throwing goodies.

There is also a seemingly choreographed production number of song and dance performed around the bonfire. This is the Hindus’ way of honoring their ‘deity.’ Dance has its roots as a form of worship in Hinduism.

(In fact, Hindu deities, like Shiva, are usually depicted dancing.  In Khajuraho, a whole week of festivities is scheduled around dancing, an event known as the Khajuraho Dance Festival.)

New brides and newborns are also consecrated on the occasion of their first Lohri. There follows a great feast afterwards, where traditional Punjabi menu like “makki ki roti” and “baajre ki roti” are served.

As with any Indian occasion, the feast and rituals are coupled with music and dancing, followed by distributing ‘prasad’ or goodies that include six ingredients.

The next Lohri Festival 2013 falls on January 13.

Travel Tips:

Travelers who find themselves in the middle of this celebration may want to join the community in the traditional song number to honor Dhulla Bhatti:

“Sunder mundarie, Hoy!
Tera ki vichara, Hoy!
Dulla bhatti vala, Hoy!
Dulle di dhi viyai, Hoy! Ser shaker pai, Hoy!”

 
Fire has always fascinated man ever since the first glimmerings of his evolution. In Hinduism, fire is an elemental force that is considered sacred as it is an energy source that they believe would replenish their own. So while dancing around fire may appear primitive to Western tourists, they would be well advised to respect the celebrations or observe in silence.

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Category: Calendar, Calendar 2013, Hindu calendar 2013, Hindu festival 2013, Holidays 2013, Indian Festivals

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