Our very own intrepid traveller, die-hard biker, travelog writer, keen photographer and “live life king-size proponent” Robin Nakai sends in a great write-up about the Lohri festival with history and lyrics to the traditional Lohri folk song.
Happy Lohri to all!
Of the only Indian festival that we never celebrated in Bishop Cotton School , methinks Lohri was the only one where the school mates were not a part of the festivities ! It would be the annual holidays and we would be with our parents and if one was lucky you could have a school buddy close enough to celebrate the Lohri activities .
Lohri , is the only indian festival that does not suffer the shifting of its date of celebrations , as per the varied conditions calendars that are
made every year , by various fundamentals , like Holi and Diwali and others , that always have different dates .
The folk lore of Lohri has many genres and may be found in various legends . The Punjabis celebrate it for the rabi harvest , as sugar cane is harvested in January and yet there is a legend that Lohri marks the end of Winter Solstice and the beginning of Maghi . The changing weather conditions have however , seemingly , put paid to that legend or folklore forever , I think .
Children bring sticks and wooden batons from their homes and a fire is lit and traditional foods are eaten and thrown into the fire . Gur, Reweree, Ghachak, Pulle, Til Ladoos and Popcorn are offered as prasad to one and all , sitting around the fire . As children we would go to the neighbors and chant Sundar Mundriye and be rewarded with a few aannaas (coins) or traditional foods . It was a moment of fun and the cold never bothered us as we danced about the Lohri fire , while the elders sat looking solemn and wise .
The Lohri legend also tells the tale of Dulla Bhatti who was the Robin Hood of his times , robbing the rich to help the poor . Dulla would rescue the girls carried away by the Mughals and then marry them to the lads in the village and often paid for all the celebrations from the monies robbed from the rich . The two famous girls of whom one sings are – Sundari and Mundari!
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!
Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!
Bade bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari itt!
Sanoo de de Lohri, te teri jeeve jodi!
(Cry or howl!)
Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pitt!
Who will think about you
Dulla of the Bhatti clan will
Dulla’s daughter got married
He gave one ser of sugar!
The girl is wearing a red suit!
But her shawl is torn!
Who will stitch her shawl?!
The uncle made choori!
The landlords looted it!
Landlords are beaten up!
Lots of simple-headed boys came!
One simpleton got left behind!
The soldier arrested him!
The soldier hit him with a brick!
(Cry or howl)!
Give us Lohri, long live your pair (to a married couple)!
Whether you cry, or bang your head later!
Thanks Robin. Happy Lohri & Happy Makar Sankranti to you and all Cottonians also.
Lovely narration. It is a shame that it has taken us so many years to realise or understand the significance of this very colourful festival. We all thought it was begging from household to household!! Lohri, is one of my favourite festival. Look forward to the songs, the bonfire and the foods that are passed around, sugar or no sugar !!