“The worth of the culture can be found in its Festivals.”
Each region has different lifestyles, languages, cultures, values, social traditions, religious ideologies, and beliefs. Whenever a festival started, it includes human, social, and economic aspects and promotes inter-cultural, inter-religious and inter-faith harmony, mutual love, and tolerance and create a strong human and social bond and relationships among peoples having different cultures and languages.
The region of Punjab in Pakistan and India has always been a developed, fertile and prosperous region. Punjab has been far ahead in terms of festivals and has also been culturally fertile and beautiful, but when there is festival of “Lohri,” it makes it unique.
“Lohri” is a unique Punjabi festival; it looks more beautiful and glorious than many other festivals of Punjab. Many wonderful traditions are attributed to make it a beautiful day.
Lohri is a traditional Punjabi festival, celebrated in the last days of winter. Before the formation of Pakistan, Sikhs and Hindu celebrate this festival with zest and zeal in United Punjab. However, after the formation of Pakistan, this festival is now celebrated at the official level in the Indian Punjab, while in Pakistan based Punjab it is not being observed at official level, however Christians, Hindus, Sikh and some Muslims observe the festival in rural Punjab and in the cities of Faisalabad and Lahore.
The celebration of Lohri festival aims to welcome the upcoming season after winter. People say goodbye to the passing season and welcome the new one by lighting bonfires, eating festive food, dancing, and collecting gifts.
On this day, the children go from door to door and take “Lohri” which means sweets and savories and occasionally money that no one let them leave their door with empty-handed because turning them back empty-handed is regarded inauspicious. The children bring all these things in the evening in the same field where everyone shares and eats and rejoices.
Lohri is a great occasion that holds great importance for farmers. It is said, “On the day before the sugarcane crop is ripe and harvested and the day before, all the farmers and people together check the taste by cutting a few times and congratulate each other when it is sweet.
“Lohri” is also the traditional day of Punjab lovers. Just as Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the West, Lohri is also celebrated as Valentine’s Day in Punjab. Every young man lights a fire and carries a candle in his hand, and purposes his favorite girl.
At the Lohri festival, people eat traditional Punjabi food “Sarson da saag and Makki di roti, til ki barfi, gurr ki roti and makhni ki kheer.
This day is also important for newlywed couples, the new bride of the family consider very special. People give gifts and best wishes to bride and groom, he bride also performs Punjabi gidda around the fire and receives blessings from elders.
Another tradition that is more closely associated with this day is attributed to Abdullah Bhatti, also known as “Dulla Bhatti”, the brave son of the Punjab and this land. Dullah Bhatti was regarded as a hero in Punjab, for rescuing Hindu girls from being forcibly taken to be sold in the slave market of the Middle East.
Coincidentally, that day was also the day of Lohri. On this occasion, Dulla Bhatti collected firewood, lit a fire and put both sugar and sesame seeds in the swing, and performed the ritual of Lohri. Because of this Dulla’s bravery, people remember him and sing the poems he recited during sundry and mundri wedding.
Whatever the background of the seasonal festival, must be celebrated with joy and happiness because these festivals promote love and intimacy between us and land.
Lohri’s Traditional Song:
Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicharaa ho!
Dullah Bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paata ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chacha gali dese!
Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!
Bum Bum bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari itt!
Paanvey ro te paanvey pitt!
Sanoo de de Lohri, te teri jeeve jodi!
(Laugh, cry or howl!)
Who will think about you
Dulla of the Bhatti clan will
Dulla’s daughter got married
He gave one ser of sugar!
The girl is wearing a red suit!
But her shawl is torn!
Who will stitch her shawl?!
The uncle made choori!
The landlords looted it!
Landlords are beaten up!
Lots of simple-headed boys came!
One simpleton got left behind!
The soldier arrested him!
The soldier hit him with a brick!
(Cry or howl)!
Give us Lohri, long live your pair (to a married couple)!
Whether you cry, or bang your head later!