Punjabi Tadka

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Lohri
Lohri, is celebrated every year on 13th of January. It is a festival to worship fire. Lohri Festival is celebrated with great pomp in North India. At this time Earth starts moving towards the sun marking the auspicious period of Uttarayan. First Lohri is very important for the newly wed and the new born babies as it marks fertility. At night, people gather around the bonfire and throw til, puffed rice & popcorns into the flames of the bonfire.
lohri
Prayers are offered to the bonfire seeking abundance & prosperity. People make merry by dancing & singing traditional folk songs.

Lohri Festival

Lohri festival is an annual thanksgiving day and an extremely popular harvest festival in India, epscially Northern India. Come January, and the fields of Punjab are filled with the golden harvest of wheat and farmers celebrate Lohri during this rest period before the cutting and gathering of crops.

Time of Lohri
According to the Hindu calendar, Lohri falls in mid-January (13th January). The earth, farthest from the sun at this point of time, starts its journey towards the sun, thus ending the coldest month of the year and announcing the start of the summer season.

Lohri Celebrations
Lohri
While Lohri is essentially a Punjab festival, it is celebrated in some other states of North India as well. In cities like Delhi, which have a predominant Punjabi population, Lohri is celebrated to denote the last of the coldest days of winter. Apart from Punjab, people from other northern Indian states of Haryana, Delhi and parts of Himachal Pradesh, become busy making preparations for Lohri. For them, Lohri is an appropriate occasion to come out of their homes and celebrate the harvesting of the Rabi (winter) crops and give in to relaxing and enjoying the traditional folk songs and dances.

In houses that have recently seen pleasant happenings such as a marriage or childbirth, Lohri celebrations will reach a higher pitch of excitement. Punjabis usually have private Lohri celebrations, in their respective houses. Lohri rituals are performed, with the accompaniment of special Lohri songs. A bonfire is made and a prayer is performed to Agni, the god of Fire, and Prasad is distributed to all present. The prasad comprises of five main things - til, gazak, gur, moongphali (peanuts) and phuliya or popcorn. Milk and water are also poured around the bonfire. This ritual is performed for thanking the Sun God and seeking his continued protection.

Singing and dancing form an intrinsic part of the celebrations. People wear their brightest clothes and come to dance the bhangra and gidda to the beat of the dhol. Punjabi songs are sung, and everybody rejoices. Sarson ka saag and makki ki roti is usually served as the main course at a Lohri dinner. Lohri is a great occasion that does not hold importance for farmers alone but also to those people residing in the urban area, as this festival provide the opportunity to interact with family and friends. Thus, Lohri is a socially significant festival for one and all.

Lohri Celebrations in other Parts of India
Lohri is celebrated throughout the country in different forms, as a harvest festival. It is called Pongal in the South, Bhugali Bihu in Assam, Bhogi in Andhra Pradesh and Sankranti in the central part of the country. Though modes of celebrating Lohri in India are different, but the message conveyed by the festival, that of setting aside differences and rejoicing by celebrating the end of the harvest season and the chilly winter is the same everywhere.

Origin of Lohri
The origin of the Lohri can be traced back to the tale of Dulla Bhatti. By the end of the first week of January, small groups of boys ring the doorbell of houses and start chanting the Lohri songs related to Dulla Bhatti. In turn, the people give them popcorn, peanuts, crystal sugar, sesame seeds (til) or gur as well as money. Turning them back empty-handed is regarded inauspicious.
Lohri

Lohri marks the end of winter on the last day of Paush, and beginning of Magha (around January 12 and 13), when the sun changes its course. It is associated with the worship of the sun and fire and is observed by all communities with different names, as Lohri is an exclusively Punjabi festival. The questions like When it began and why is lost in the mists of antiquity.

The origin of Lohri is related to the central character of most Lohri songs is Dulla Bhatti, a Muslim highway robber who lived in Punjab during the reign of Emperor Akbar. Besides robbing the rich, he rescued Hindu girls being forcibly taken to be sold in slave market of the Middle East. He arranged their marriages to Hindu boys with Hindu rituals and provided them with dowries. Understandably, though a bandit, he became a hero of all Punjabis. So every other Lohri song has words to express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti.
Lohri

Some believe that Lohri has derived its name from Loi, the wife of Sant Kabir, for in rural Punjab Lohri is pronounced as Lohi. Others believe that Lohri comes from the word 'loh', a thick iron sheet tawa used for baking chapattis for community feasts. Another legend says that Holika and Lohri were sisters. While the former perished in the Holi fire, the latter survived. Eating of til (sesame seeds) and rorhi (jaggery) is considered to be essential on this day. Perhaps the words til and rorhi merged to become tilorhi, which eventually got shortened to Lohri.

Ceremonies that go with the festival of Lohri usually comprises of making a small image of the Lohri goddess with gobar (cattle dung), decorating it, kindling a fire beneath it and chanting its praises. The final ceremony is to light a large bonfire at sunset, toss sesame seeds, gur, sugar-candy and rewaries in it, sit round it, sing, dance till the fire dies out. People take dying embers of the fire to their homes. In Punjabi village homes, fire is kept going round the clock by use of cow-dung cakes.

The History of Lohri

The history of Lohri, a seasonal festival of North India is as old as that of story of Indus Valley civilization itself. The Festival of Lohri marks the beginning of the end of winter and the coming of spring and the new year. The fires lit at night, the hand warming, the song and dance and the coming together of an otherwise atomized community, are only some of the features of this festival. The Lohri of north India coincides with Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Makar Sankranti in Bengal, Magha Bihu in Assam, Tai Pongal in Kerala, all celebrated on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti.

There are some interesting socio-cultural and folk-legends connected with Lohri. According to the cultural history of Punjab, Bhatti, a Rajput tribe during the reign of Akbar, inhabited parts of Rajasthan, Punjab, and Gujarat (now in Pakistan). Dulla Bhatti, Raja of Pindi Bhattian, was put to death by the Mughal king for revolting against him. The tribal mirasis (street singers) trace the history of the tribe and interestingly, claim Maharaja Ranjit Singh as one of its scions.

Dulla Bhatti, like Robin Hood, robbed the rich and gave to the poor. The people of the area loved and respected him. He once rescued a girl from kidnappers and adopted her as his daughter. His people would remember their hero every year on Lohri. Groups of children moved from door to door, singing the Dulla Bhatti folk-song: "Dulla Bhatti ho! Dulle ne dhi viyahi ho! Ser shakar pai ho!" (Dulla gave his daughter a kilo of sugar as a marriage gift).

Lohri is essentially a festival dedicated to fire and the sun god. It is the time when the sun transits the zodiac sign Makar (Capricorn), and moves towards the north. In astrological terms, this is referred to as the sun becoming Uttarayan. The new configuration lessens the ferocity of winter, and brings warmth to earth. It is to ward off the bitter chill of the month of January that people light bonfires, dance around it in a mood of bonhomie and celebrate Lohri.
Lori

Fire is associated with concepts of life and health. Fire, like water, is a symbol of transformation and regeneration. It is the representative of the sun, and is thus related, on the one hand with rays of light, and on the other with gold. It is capable of stimulating the growth of cornfields and the well being of man and animals. It is the imitative magic purporting to assure the supply of light and heat. It is also an image of energy and spiritual strength. That is why the Lohri fire gets sanctified and is venerated like a deity. On this occasion, people offer peanuts, popcorn and sweets made of til- chirva, gajak and revri – to propitiate fire as a symbol of the sun god.

Traditional Stories of Dulha Bhatti

Legendary stories are associated with the brave Dulha Bhatti. He used to rob rich to help the poor and needy. It is believed that Dullah had restored the prestige of an innocent girl whose modesty was outraged by a wealthy Zamindar. There are various versions of the actual story. Some traditions say that Dullah had adopted this girl as his daughter and arranged her marriage in the Jungles of ‘Saandal Bar’. As there was no priest nearby to chant the Vedic Hymns and solemnize the marriage Dullah had lit a bonfire and composed an impromtu song,

Sunder Mundriye Tera Kaun Vichara ! Dullah Bhatti Wala Ho!
Dullaeh Di Teeh Viahi Ho! Ser Shakar Payi !”


The bride and the groom were asked to take pheras of the bonfire as Dullah sang this hilarious song.

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