Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lohri festival

The festival of Lohri is celebrated in northern parts of India in the first month of the year. It is celebrated by setting up a hon fire and praying to the fire. People set up bonfires, pray,sing and dance around the fire.

The story behind the festival:
There is a large tract of semi-arid terrain lying between the rivers Chenab and Ravi called the Saandal Bar. (It now falls in the districts of Sheikhupura and Faislabad, in Pakistan).

The people of this area were known to provide the stiffest opposition to the Mughals.They never paid any taxes; rather, they openly defied the authorities and indulged in looting the royal caravans and treasures.

'Saandal', a warlord of Bhatti Rajput clan led these tribals. Prince Jahangir, the heir apparent, fired with zeal to prove his prowess carried out campaigns to consolidate the Mughal authority in the region. He captured and executed Saandal and his son, Farid. Their skins were peeled off and hung at the Delhi gate of the Fort of Lahore to instil a sense of fear amongst the rebels.

However, the son of Farid, Abdullah or Dullah as he is fondly called,  remained unfazed and continued his defiant activities. Dullah earned notoriety in the eyes of authorities. He, like Robin Hood, looted wealthy landlords and Imperial officers and distributed the booty amongst the poor. He came to be regarded as a father figure for the distressed and oppressed. and became a living legend, embodiment of the chivalrous and secular, socio-cultural character of the region.

Dullah was the contemporary of yet another Super Human, Poet Divine, Sri Guru Arjan Dev JI, the Fifth Sikh Guru, who sacrificed his life at the altar of humanity at Lahore.

It is believed that Dullah had restored the prestige of an innocent girl whose modesty was outraged by a Mughal general. Dullah had adopted this girl as his daughter and arranged her marriage in the Jungles of 'Saandal Bar'. As there was no priest nearby to chant the Vedic Hymns and solemnise the marriage Dullah lit a bonfire and people, who by then, were also free from sowing wheat crop, gathered in strength. They composed an impromtu song: Sundari Mundariye……
The bride and the groom were asked to take pheras of the bonfire as people sang this hilarious song.

(The 'ho's are in chorus…..)

 Sunder mundriye ho! ( Oh, you pretty lass)
Tera kaun vicaharaa ho! (Who is your protector, you  pitiable one? )
Dullah Bhatti walla ho! (There's this man called Dullah, from Village Bhatti)
Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho! (Dullah's  getting her married as his own daughter)
Ser shakkar payee  ho! (He gave 1 kg sugar!)
Kudi da laal pathaka ho! (The girls is wearing a red suit!)
Kudi da saalu paatta ho! (But her shawl is torn!)
Saalu kaun samete ho! (Who will stitch her shawl?)
Chacha gaali dese ho! (Her Uncle is scolding her)
Chacha choori kutti ho! (The uncle made choori{a Punjabi dish}!)
zamidara lutti ho! (The landlords ate it!)
Zamindaar sudhaye ho! (Dullah gave the landlords lots more to eat!)
Ginn-ginn bhole aaye   ho! (Lots of innocent guys came)
Ek bhola reh gaya! (One innocent boy got left behind)
Sipahee pakad ke lai gaya! (The police arrested him!)
Sipahee ne mari itt! (The policeman hit him with a brick!)
Phannve ro te phannve pit! (Now, you may cry or howl!)
Sanoo de de lohri te teri jeeve jodi (Give us our Lohri  & may you live long as a couple!)

Til (Sesame seeds) and Rorhi (a form of sweet jaggery in Punjabi) are meant to keep the body warm. These two terms Til+ Rorhi combined to form Tilrorhi, which eventually was corrupted to ----"Lohri"


RANE said...

Interesting Festival ...Are people praying for anything specific for the new year?

Tiffany Yong W.T. said...

Wow, I thought skinning people only happens in China during the dynasty period and amongst the cannibals! It's nice to hear how different festival comes about and to respect the cultures

papaleng said...

Seems a great festival to witness. Thanks for sharing with us some background of the festival.

Fred Hawson said...

I have never heard of this festival before. Thank you telling us the history behind it. One more new thing to learn today.

SFR said...

What a wonderful post - love finding out more about such festivals! Sim x

eLaNaKcL said...

Never heard of this festival. Thx for sharing the origins of the festival. :D

Jason P. said...

Always so interesting learning about different cultures and traditions! There's something so captivating about the Lohri festival! :D

Louise Banta said...

I'm always amazed at how each one of us has our own beliefs and festive. It's very interesting how these things mold our personality and attitudes. :)

Fernando Lachica said...

Nice to know about this festival around the bonfire. You're reaching-out your readers and giving knowledgeable subject.

Mia Foo said...

ohh, so is it today (15th Jan)? my parents were saying, it's the Indian's New Year today for he saw some celebrating with festive lights and such. So this is what it is. Lohri festival! Is it only celebrated by Northern Indians?
Thanks for sharing this, I've learnt something new today!

Mindy Pauline said...

What an interesting story! I love to learn about cultures and Indian cultures are one that fascinates me most! Thanks for sharing, i enjoyed reading it!

Mindy Pauline said...

Oh no, i closed the tab before making sure that my comment gets through! I hope it does! I just want to say that i really enjoyed the story and that Indian culture fascinates me ^^

Hannah Green said...

I have never heard of this festival. It is great to hear about other cultures. x

Franc said...

It's nice to know the history of the Lohri festival. It would be also a great way to socialize with the bonfires.

Eliz Frank said...

You did a really good job of introducing and explain the history behind the Lohri Festival. Fire is sacred and the celebration honors that too. Beautiful!

Sunshine Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing the Lohri festival to me. I get to learn more about Indian culture. I might be going to India later this year. Hope that my plan to explore can come true.

Kylie wenn said...

Interesting festival.. This is new to me.. Thanks for sharing as I never heard of it before..

Marie said...

This is my first time to read/hear about Lohri Festival. Wow! It made me realize how many festivals (and other things) about the entire world I am not familiar about.

Oh don't mind me. I just got out from my cave that's why I know less stuff. Hahahaha!

Fyeah Hdr said...

Amazing festival! Thanks for this I learned something new today. Very historical and wonderful!