Delhi celebrates Lohri with bonfires and drumbeats

Thursday, January 13, 2011

NEW DELHI - Crackling fires and beating drums were prevalent throughout Delhi Thursday evening as residents gathered around roaring bonfires to celebrate the harvest festival of Lohri.

Traditionally associated with the harvest of the rabi crop, Lohri is celebrated with mirth and enjoyment. People celebrated the occasion with feasting, exchange of gifts and songs and dances around bonfires late into the night.

According to Sanchita Sharma, a homemaker, the festival assumes a greater significance if there has been a birth or marriage in the family.

“If there is a new born in the family and it’s his or her first Lohri, the festival is celebrated in a grand manner,” Sharma said.

“The maternal grandparents send gifts, sweets, dry fruits, peanuts, popcorn and other stuff. In case of newly weds, the bride receives a whole lot of gifts,” she added.

Madhu Sood, whose son just got married, said she had made special preparations for the newly weds’ first Lohri.

“We had a bonfire in the evening and I have made a prasad comprising til (sesame), jaggery, peanuts and others. We have a ritual of pouring milk and water around the bonfire to thank Agni devta (fire god) and seek blessings,” Sood said.

R. Srinivas, who has been in Delhi for the last six months from his native Chennai, celebrated his first Lohri. I think, it is the community feeling which is the best part of the festival. The bonfire and the drums gets everybody out of their flats, so it is a good way to know neighbours, he said.

Of course, he had also done his bit for pongal celebrations at home, by following traditional rituals at sunrise.

Besides Lohri, a host of other harvest festivals are also celebrated across the country. So there is Uttarayan in Gujarat, Magh Bihu in Assam and Pongal in south India and Makar Sankranti.

Filed under: Religion

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