The Bold Voice of J&K

Lohri preparations in full swing

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lohriMalu Kerni
Lohri festival, which falls generally on 13th January every year, is one of the important festivals, which marks the end of winter season, with Sun’s declination commencing its northward move to bring warmth to the northern hemisphere.
Also, Lohri is the beginning of festive week for several communities with the Assamese Bhogali feast celebrations on Monday and Makar Sankranti and Pongal festival on Tuesday.
While many will be celebrating Lohri in the traditional way-dancing around a bonfire and singing folk songs in praise of Dulha Bhatti, the festival is often celebrated in a more urban way today with DJs playing music and organizing a grand feast.
Couples who are celebrating their first Lohri after wedding do it in a grand way. They make a bonfire and throw in peanuts, Rewri, Gajak and popcorn. It’s a way of welcoming the harvest season and thanking god for a good harvest.
Poonam Gandotra, whose son just got married, said she has made special preparations for the newlyweds’ first Lohri. “We will have a bonfire in the evening. I have invited all my relatives and close friends to celebrate the festival with us and have made a special Prasad comprising Til (sesame), Jaggery, and peanuts. After the traditional Puja and all rituals done it will be all fun and lots of enjoyment as we have made arrangement for DJ party also,” she added.
“Lohri is a festival of bonding with family and friends coming home to sit by the fire and enjoy the season. But with the emergence of nuclear families, the festival seems to be losing its innate warmth. The whole family used to dance at the beat of Dhol around the bonfire but now the Dhol has been replaced by DJs. I sometimes feel bad that the festivals are losing charm as we are neglecting the main theme behind these festivals and are indulging more in showoff of wealth and status,” shared Kawaljeet Kaur, a housewife.
For some it is a sacred occasion but for the new generation it is almost like a carnival. Many restaurants, in the city, have arranged special menus on this occasion.
Also, the Department of Tourism in collaboration with the district administration, travel and trade industry and Raghunath Bazar Business Association is going to organise Lohri festival on 12th and 13th of January.
The inaugural function will be organised at Bagh-e-Bahu Jammu on 12th of January, and festival will culminate with the valedictory function at Raghunath Bazaar on 13th January, 2015.
This Lohri festival will showcase the culture of Jammu including songs and dances, heritage and ethnic food to promote tourism in the State. Shopping bonanza will be offered by the Raghunath Bazaar Businessmen Association during the festival by way of discounts etc.

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