Lohri is a popular festival of Punjab which is celebrated one day before Makar Sankranti i.e. on 13th January every year. This festival is celebrated all over India with great enthusiasm. The festival of Lohri is celebrated under different names in different parts of the country and people eagerly wait for this day. In Andhra Pradesh, it is celebrated under the name Bhogi. The festival is also celebrated in Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala under the names Magha Bihu, Pongal and Thai Pongal. On the other hand, the UP and Bihar people call it the celebration of Makar Sankranti.
The people of India celebrate Lohri like many other festivals with great happiness and joy. It’s one of those festivals where family and friends get a chance to meet up and have a great time. In Lohri, people visit friends and family and distribute sweets. This festival is especially important for farmers as it is considered the harvest season, especially sugarcane. People celebrate the festival by lighting bonfires and dancing and singing around bonfires.
This is the time when people receive the blessing of the Almighty by doing parikrama while singing the famous traditional song “Sundar Mundriye”. This song is dedicated to a historical Punjabi Robinhood hero named “Dulha Bhatti ” who steals from the rich and distributes the wealth among the poors. According to customs and rituals, the people eat foods like Makki Ki Roti with Sarson Ka Saag, Gur, Gazak, Til, Moongphali, etc on this day. In addition, people wear new clothes and perform Bhangra, a Punjabi folk dance. For farmers, lohri marks the beginning of a new year. This festival is also of great importance for newly married couples and new-borns.
Previously, people used to celebrate Lohri by gifting each other gajaks, while in today’s world the trend has gradually changed and people prefer to give chocolates and cakes. With the growing threat to the environment from the harmful effects of pollution, people have become more aware and prefer not to light bonfires. Now people avoid cutting down more trees to light up bonfires. Instead, they celebrate Lohri by planting more and more trees to protect the environment in the long term.
As per COVID 19 guidelines issued by the government of India, people should follow social distancing, and hence in these times the Lohri celebrations should happen with a limited number of guests and limited exchange of gifts.