Though Lohri festival has no religious significance but it holds a great
social significance and is celebrated as a day of imparting social love
to one and all. The festival of Lohri is meant to relieve people from
worldly day to day routine, and make them relaxed, cheerful and happy.
It is the time when people from all castes and social strata come
together forgetting all past differences and grievances. Every year
Lohri succeeds in bridging the social gap, as people visit homes,
distribute sweets and greet each other.
Apart from this, the festival of Lohri is related to the harvest season.
Harvest and fertility festivals a special significance for an agrarian
country like India. Punjab being a predominantly agricultural state that
prides itself on its food grain production, it is little wonder that
Lohri is its one of the most significant festival. Thus, Lohri is
symbolic of ripening of the crops and of copious harvest. Lohri instill
sensitivity among the people towards their environment and culture. The
fundamental theory behind the festival of Lohri is the sense of
togetherness and the culturally rich legacy of the people of Punjab.
Lohri in Punjab and Haryana have always been celebrated with much
exuberance and fanfare. They believe in celebrating this harvest
festival together and rejoicing it to the fullest. For the masses this
festival is a popular occasion for social intercourse and enjoyment.
They make a bonfire and roast 'fresh chholia' (green gram) in pods with
its leaves and stems intact, and eat it. They also sing and dance
sitting around the fire. Lohri is thus a community festival and is
always celebrated by getting together with neighbors and the relatives.
The focus of Lohri is on the bonfire. The traditional dinner with makki
ki roti and sarson ka saag is quintessential. The prasad comprises of
five main items: til (gingelly) , gajak (a hardened bar of peanuts in
jaggery or sugar syrup) , gur (jaggery) , moongphali (peanuts) , and
phuliya (popcorn). There is puja, involving parikrama around the fire
and distribution of prasad. This symbolises a prayer to Agni, the spark
of life, for abundant crops and prosperity.
Therefore, the festival of Lohri has great social significance. This
time is considered auspicious for marriages and to undertake new
ventures. The farmer, comparatively free from his yeoman's duties, takes
to fun and frolic. The golden color of the ripening corn in the fields
pleases him. For newly-weds and newborns, Lohri is a special occasion.
Families of the bride and groom get together and celebrate by dancing
around the fire and expressing their joy. Lohri is a grand event of
social and cultural integration, bringing about unity, amity, harmony
among all castes and communities.
Lohri is celebrated throughout the country in different forms, having
various regional names 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. The various regional names of
Uttarayan: Uttarayan, traditionally believed to be the starting point of
the sun's northward journey, is celebrated according to the solar
calendar on 14th January. When the sun enters the orbit of a rashi from
another, it is called sankranti . Uttarayan is celebrated all over
Gujarat but the excitement is high at Ahmedabad, Surat, Nadiad and
International Kite Festival: From dawn to dusk, people of all ages fly
kites rejoicing in the spirit of the International Kite festival of
Gujarat. Falling on 14th January, the sky is enlivened by kites of
different colors and hues. Kites soar in the sky, their lines moving as
if alive. Crowded rooftops, fun-loving rivalry to outdo each other, and
delicious Gujarati feast are the hall-marks of the day.
Pongal: In south, Pongal is a festival when god is praised with a simple
faith and sincerity. Old vices are all washed out and all that is good
is welcomed in this New year. This festival is of all living things, who
look up to the heaven in joy and thankfulness to God for everything that
He gives to man specially peace and happiness and the feeling of
Makar Sankranti: Makar Sankranti marks the beginning of Uttarayan, the
Sun's northward journey. Makar is called Capricorn in the western
astrological calendar. Makar Sankranti falls on 14th of January every
Thai Pongal: The Thai Pongal Festival is an occasion to celebrate
fulfillment of their vows to Lord Murugan. It is one the biggest
festival days after Mahasivarathri for the followers of Lord Shiva.
Bihu / Bohaggiyo Bhishu: Bihu is the most important non-religious
festival of the Assamese people. People of this state observe it every
year irrespective of their class and caste. It has been observed from
time immemorial and has been adjusting itself at different ages taking
into consideration the changed situation of a particular age.
Ganga Sagar: Situated on an island in the Sunderbans, Ganga Sagar is a
lovely destination where culture and religion mingle in peace. With the
mild winter of gangetic West Bengal, the season to continues all year
round. Here Ganga sagar mela is held that is one of the largest fair in