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A much loved Punjabi winter festival that is celebrated on January 13th, with the lighting of a big bonfire after sunset.

Friends and family gather around after dusk and watch as the fire is lit (after pouring copious amounts of ghee on the wood to be burnt), and then proceed to alternatively snack on and throw in food items such as Til waali rewri (jaggery with sesame seeds), peanuts, and more recently, popcorn. The idea is to feed yourself and to feed the fire as well, dispelling the deep winter chill. In recent years the tradition has become popular outside of Punjab as well and entire neighbourhoods in cities like New Delhi organise giant bonfires on this day. Singing and dancing the bhangda and the giddha form an intrinsic part of the day's celebrations for the farming community of Punjab, who consider this an auspicious day.

It is believed that the night of Lohri is the longest night in the entire year, and the next day the amount of daylight starts to increase for the first time after the cold, unforgiving North Indian winter - heralding the distant arrival of spring in the coming months. Therefore Lohri signifies the end of the darkest part of the year and the coming of warmer seasons. This is why, on the day after Lohri (which coincides with the festival of Makar Sankrant), a special kara prasad is prepared in Punjabi households.


*A typical Lohri day, and family members throng in the garden where arrangements for the bonfire have been made. The family matriarch directs the whole show with ease*

"Everyone, gather around and let's start the fire, it's already quite late. You, come here and start pouring ghee on those sticks and light it up. You, get the hand held fan and help him start the blaze.You! Here are the plates of food, pass them around

*counts them as she goes*

two with peanuts ..... one with rewari ...... two with chiwda ....Wait a minute!!!

*staring at the empty plates in her hands*


Added 2012-01-13 by Surdie Birdie



Related Terms

Diwali Mela, Ramlila