Women dancing to celebrate Lohri Festival. (Express archive)
Lohri is a traditional Punjabi folk festival marking the end of the winter season. It falls on the 13th of January ever year. Lohri is traditionally celebrated by Sikhs and Hindus across India. Lohri also marks the celebration of winter crop season harvest and some people also worship the sun deity or Surya dev on this day.
A beautiful bonfire is lit and people sing and dance around it. The bonfire ceremony is different in parts of Punjab and Haryana. A small image of the Lohri goddess is made and decorated with cow dung in some parts, whereas in other parts, the Lohri fire consists of wood and cow dung. A number of snacks like popcorn, rewri, gajak and other Indian sweets are enjoyed around the bonfire.
Singing and dancing are a huge part of the Lohri celebrations. In contemporary culture, a number of Punjabi and Bollywood songs have captured the essence of this festival. Here is a list of vibrant Lohri songs to dance to this season.
Lohri celebrates the days getting longer and the journey of sun northwards.
In Punjab the January sugarcane harvest is celebrated during this festival. Therefore making sugarcane products a huge part of Lohri celebrations. In fact a lot of other winter produce becomes a part of this festival's celebrations. The winter produce of mustard seeds is used in making sarson ka saag that is traditionally enjoyed on this festival.
A number of folk songs associated with this festival have been popularized across generations. Energy and vibrancy are a brimming part of this festival.
Apart from Punjab, this festival is popular and celebrated in Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Lohri can be celebrated privately or in a community. Traditionally rural households and villages had a pan-village or community celebration of this festival where everyone gathered around the bonfire and sang in unison. But increasingly in urban spaces, Lohri is a private affair.