January 13th: Lohri – The First Indian Festival of the Year
Lohri is a harvest festival celebrated by the Punjabis marking the end of the winter season.
Being a country of various cultures and traditions, India begins with the festivities from today. Lohri is a festival that links to the Punjabi region and is celebrated on 14th January. It is a famous Punjabi Winter Folk Festival celebrated by the Punjabis. It also marks as the first Indian Festival of the New Year. It marks the end of winter and welcomes longer days.
History and Significance
According to the Hindu Solar Calendar, Lohri falls in the Paush month. The date is usually 13th or 14th January depending on the Hindu Calendar, however, mostly it falls on the 13th January every year. It is the point where the earth is closest to the Sun. Lohri is known as the festival of Farmers or the harvest festival in the Northern part of India. It is celebrated the night before Makar Sankranti.
The actual celebration includes creating a huge bonfire with the help of wigs, logs of wood, branches of trees, etc. These are collected way before the beginning of the festival. The women and children collect these things all throughout winter. It is said that the bigger the bonfire, the better it is. After the sunset on Lohri day, the bonfire is lit with the people singing and dancing around it to the traditional tunes of Lohri.
Goodies like popcorn, reori, peanuts, and sugar cane are offered to the Sun God by putting handfuls in the bonfire.