What is Lohri and why its Celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs

It is one of the greatest festivals of Punjab and Haryana. It is celebrated on the 13th of January, Many people believe the festival was originally celebrated on winter solstice day, being the shortest day and the longest night of the year, According to the Bhagawad Gita, Lord Krishna manifests himself in his full magnificence during this time.
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In the morning on Lohri day, children go from door to door singing and demanding the Lohri in the form of money and eatables like til (sesame) seeds, peanuts, jaggery, or sweets like gajak, rewri, etc. The festival of Lohri is celebrated outdoors. As it is usually very cold on the 13th of January, a bonfire is lit, and friends and relatives gather around.

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. The bonfire is lit in the main village square, and after a fair amount of song and dance, everyone eats a rich and fulfilling community dinner.

A prayer is made to Agni, the god of Fire, and Prasad is distributed. The prasad comprises of five main things: til, gazak, gur, moongphali (peanuts), and phuliya or popcorn. An offering is also made of this Prasad to the sacred fire.

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. Modes of celebrating Lohri are also 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.

There are many Lohri songs. For example, the following song which has words to express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti:

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!
Zamindaar sudhaye! Bum Bum bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya! Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari itt! Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pitt!
Sanoo de de Lohri, te teri jeeve jodi!
(Cry or howl!)

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