Lohri is celebrated every year on the 13th of January.
Lohri is a popular festival that is primarily celebrated by the Sikhs and Hindus from the Punjab and Haryana regions of the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. These regions are a unique geographical mass of multi-cultural and multi-religious nations.
Lohri is a special and jubilant celebration, as it signifies the end of winter and the start of the harvesting season.
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The festival is marked by the making of huge bonfires in which the element of fire is celebrated. The bonfire is very symbolic to the cultural significance of this festival, as it pays homage to the Sun God for bringing in light and warmth to mark the end of winter.
Celebrations are centred around the bonfire. The bonfires are created in harvested fields and front yards and people gather around these bonfires with family and friends and offer prayers that are centred around prosperity, abundance and fertility. People sing, play music and dance around the bonfire and often throw till (sesame seeds), puffed rice and popcorns into the flames.
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In the morning, it is a tradition for children to sing songs in praise of Dulha Bhatti, whilst going from door to door in their neighbourhoods. Dulha Bhatti is a Punjabi version of Robin Hood, who stole from the rich to help the poor. Therefore, the children are usually given money when they knock on their neighbour’s doors in commemoration of this tradition.
In celebration of this special time, it is also customary to decorate the home and dress up in fine clothing for lavish dinners with family and friends. Traditional foods like Sarson ka saag (a vegetarian dish) and Makki ki roti (cornbread) are eaten and enjoyed.
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As the Punjab region is diverse and multi-cultural, there can be various traditional versions of celebrating Lohri, however, it is always a happy occasion and time of joyous celebrations with loved ones, around bonfires that mark the end of the season of winter.
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