A common space for harmonic peacemakers
Lohri is a festival connected with the solar year. Generally, it is an accepted fact that this festival is to worship fire. This is particularly a happy occasion for the couples who for the first time celebrated Lohri after their marriage and also the first Lohri of the son born in a family. The wood crackles and burns, the fire blazes high, a circle of warmth on a cold winter's night. Lohri is essentially a festival dedicated to the Sun god. Lohri is a joyous time to eat gur and peanuts, singing songs and share the warmth with your family and loved ones.
A week before Lohri, children begin gathering firewood, hunting for logs that will burn well. A spirit of good-natured rivalry binds the community together and every one takes pride in making the biggest and most grand bonfire in their neighborhood. Lohri is an important festival which brings the entire community together, each family contributing sweets made of til and gur, peanuts, tilchowli and many other delicious home-made delicacies.
The Guru Granth Sahib praises this auspicious time of the month and says those who meditate before a fire will be blessed. Lohri, which marks the highest point in winter, is considered especially important for new born babies who are taken around the bonfire. They pray for prosperity even as they make offerings of til (gingelly), moongphali (peanuts) and chirwa (beaten rice) to the burning embers.
According to legend, a good Lohri sets the tone for the whole year ahead - the more joyous and bountiful the occasion, the greater will be the peace and prosperity. Some people believed that Holika and Lohri were sisters. While the former vanished into the fire, Lohri survived and lives on.
The rituals and celebrations associated with Makara Sankaranti and Lohri are only symbolic of a common thanksgiving to nature as represented by the Sun god, and in the process, the festivities embody a spirit of brotherhood, unity and gratitude, with family reunions and merrymaking generating a lot of happiness, goodwill and cheer.