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An agricultural festival filled with merry-making, Lohri is celebrated on the 13th of January each year, mainly in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and parts of Himachal Pradesh. It denotes the end of the biting colds of winter and marks the sun's entry into the ‘Makar Rashi' (north hemisphere). Mainly associated with worshipping the sun and fire, Lohri observes fertility and the spark of life. It is considered as the best festival to celebrate and spread the warmth of love and happiness among your near and dear ones. The festival is celebrated with fun and fervor. People lit a bonfire in the evening where they offer sweets to the fire and sing and dance to the Lohri songs.
Lohri is not just a festival for the people of Punjab, but a symbol of life. This harvesting festival is associated with hopes of farmers, as they believe that the fields promise a golden yield to them. The festival is extremely special for newly wed couples as they would be celebrating their first Lohri together. Apart from the newly wed couples, Lohri is also special for couples who have been blessed with new born baby, especial a baby boy, as he would be celebrating his first ever Lohri. However, the traditional approach has today changed and paved way for the festival which is today seen more as an occasion of get-together for families.
Children visit every house in their neighborhood asking for their contributions for bonfires to be lit in the evening and also inviting them. They sing songs of Lohri in the praise of Dulha Bhatti, the Punjabi version of Robin Hood, creating a festive mood all over the place. They start collecting fire woods and wooden twigs one week before the festival actually arrives. These fire woods are arranged in a circular manner to form a huge bonfire. Traditional food is prepared on this occasion for dinner that includes sarson ka saag, makki ki roti and for desserts; there are numerous sweets like rau di kheer, ganne ki kheer, pinnie, atta ladoos, coconut chikki, dry fruit chikki, kurmura ladoos and shengdana chikki.
People dress in new clothes and gather around the bonfire in the evening. They lit and offer prasad to the sacred fire. This prasad comprises of five main things, namely, til, gajak, gur, moongfali, phuliya and popcorn. The people then offer prayers to the fire for abundant crops and prosperity. Thereafter, they greet each other by wishing "Happy Lohri" and spreading the feeling of love and happiness all around. Traditional Lohri songs and dances like bhangra and gidda simply add to the celebration of Lohri. Children and women get an extra attention on this occasion. The entire atmosphere creates a perfect ambience of Lohri.