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Feel the warmth of relationships on Lohri

The mercury is dipping, but the sprits are high.

Even as icy wind continue to lash, its time to feel the warmth of relationships, and friendship. It’s time to dance and huddle around the blazing inferno…. January 13, it’s Lohri time, folks.

Alright, Lohri is essentially a Punjabi festival and is celebrated primarily in the states of North India. Even in cities like Delhi, which have a predominant Punjabi population, Lohri is celebrated to denote the last of the coldest days of winter.

Lohri in UK

In UK, it’s hardly any different. Migrants from all over incredible India, and those with roots in the country, are joined in the celebrations by so many natives.

The celebrations are at its peak in houses that have recently had a marriage or childbirth.

If you are going to a friend’s house for Lohri celebrations, do remember to put on your dancing shoes. For singing and dancing form an intrinsic part of the celebrations.

And also wear your brightest and cheerful clothes to twirl all around the floor to the thumping and reverberating beats of dhol, while you perform bhangra or gidda.

Don’t stuff yourself up before the celebrations. For `saron-da-saag and makki-di-roti’ will be served as the main course at a Lohri dinner.

During the day, you may even come across children going from door to door singing folk songs in praise of `Dulha Bhatti’. Don’t turn them away. Instead offer sweets and savories, and token money. Turning them back empty-handed is regarded inauspicious.

You can give them `til’, `gachchak’, gur or jaggery’, moongphali or peanuts and phuliya or popcorn. As you celebrate the festival with them, some of the collected stuff is offered to the fire at sunset.

Origin

Lohri is the cultural celebration on the eve of the winter solstice. But, instead of celebrating Lohri on the eve of winter solstice, Punjabis celebrate it on the last day of the month during which winter solstice takes place, Paush. This is due to linking Lohri to the Bikrami calendar.

According to folk lore, in ancient Punjab Lohri was celebrated on the eve of winter solstice day. It is for this reason that people believe the Lohri night is meant to be the longest night of the year and on the day after Lohri, day light is meant to increase.

However, scientifically, the shortest day of the year is around December 21–22 after when the days begin to get longer. Accordingly, winter solstice begins on December 21 or December 22 and Lohri ought to be celebrated a day before winter solstice.

Lohri songs

Also every other Lohri song express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti.

The most popular is Sunder mundriye ho! The 'ho's in the song are in chorus

 

    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!

    Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!

    Zamindaar sudhaye!

    Bade bhole aaye!

    Ek bhola reh gaya!

    Sipahee far ke lai gaya!

    Sipahee ne mari itt!

    Sanoo de de Lohri, te teri jeeve jodi!

    (Cry or howl!)

    Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pitt!

Translation

    Beautiful girl

    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!

Dulla Bhatti

Over time, people have associated Lohri to the tale of Dulla Bhatti, who lived in Punjab during the reign of Emperor Akbar. He was regarded as a hero in Punjab. 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 rituals and provided them with dowries. So every other Lohri song has words to express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti.

Dulla Bhatti was a rebel whose lineage was of Bhatti Rajputs . His ancestors were the rulers of Pindi Bhattian in Sandal Bar area of present day Pakistan.

Lohri wear

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Do not forget to wear something warm over the nice alluring top you strategically plan to don for setting the cool evening on fire. Go in for a good faux leather jacket.

Faux leather jackets are cool and convenient also. Unlike pullovers, you can take easily them off as soon as you feel the heat of the evening. After the dance around the blaze is over, you can simply wipe the beads of perspiration from your brow and wear the stuff again before savouring the sumptuous snacks.

Never, ever, wear a faux leather jacket over salwar-kameez. Well… it kind of looks funny.

If you are attending a Lohri bash wearing salwar-kameez,  make sure that wrap yourself up nicely and properly in an embroidered jacket.

Another thing. Do not wear inflammable stuff. Remember you will be playing around the fire all the time. No nylon and silk stuff, please. Also take care of that shawl wrapped around your fragile shoulders. Just be careful it is no where near the fire.

Last advise. Do not drink if you do not wish to. If the revellers insist do not deliver a sermon. Call your self a “designated driver” if you do not reside in the adjoining house.

Dial 101 for non-emergency police help

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