A nice warm day, a handful of freshly roasted groundnuts, and jaggery sweets. It’s all about the game. This grand feast, however, is not any usual gathering. The long-awaited bonfire festival is celebrated annually by Punjabi community worldwide on January 13. For farmers, it is a way of relaxing and celebrating a hard work of reaping the harvest. For all Indians, the festival holds a distinctive place in their hearts.
Lohri is for serenity and goodwill for all. Such a festival gives my family an extra-special reason to take some time out of our hectic lifestyles, to sit together, share, eat, and enjoy. It is considered almost a disgrace to wake up late on Lohri morning, so we are the first among our family to get out of bed and dress in our best outfits. Then we start the “dore-me” of the Lohri-hunt-visiting almost every house in the neighborhood, singing continuously until we get the Lohri-loot.
The centuries of old folk songs. Dhulla Bhatti, a Robin Hood-like figure who would steal from the rich and loot taxes. According to legend, Dhulla Bhatti rescued two young girls named Sundari and Mundari from being enslaved, adopted them, and fix marriages for them, giving only a handful of “shakker” (powdered jaggary sweets) as a wedding gift. The selfless movements of Dhulla Bhatti led to some of India’s melodious folk songs, such as “Sunder Mundriye hoo !, Tera Kaun Vicahara ho! Dullah Bhatti walla hoo!”
Every house seems to be full of the joyful mood, giving sugar candies, gajak (jaggery sweet), moongphali (peanuts), popcorn, sesame seeds, and some token of money.
One of my friend, Amandeep Kaur, another enchanted celebrator, Amandeep Kaur, another enchanted celebrator, confident that her hectic schedule does not have her lohri loot. “The sound of dhol (the traditional Indian drum) forms of an important part of the festival. People go from one home to another, giving their blessings, dancing, and singing to some popular Punjabi folk songs, “she said.
Bonfires, the integral part of Lohri nights at sunset, bonfires are seen sparkling in every corner. People usually sing and dance in circles around the rising flames. The gathered munchies are distributed and thrown into the bonfire as a part of the offering of the prayers to the god of fire, to honor everyone with abundant wealth and success. The traditions and myths hold that loot, suffering, and hardship can be prevented.
As we stayed in the army quarters where we dad, we used to celebrate the festival within the framework of our big campus with the neighbors, preparing a vast bonfire, singing and dancing for many hours with my friends (without my family) and missing the childhood. Whatever the reason may be, I believe that every day is a festival only if we trust in the serenity of each other’s hearts and do not forget to pray for the betterment of all.
I wish that this year’s festival would get rid of all the unrighteousness and negative intentions of people’s hearts and tie.