Lohri celebrated with traditional fervor, customary rituals

People celebrating Lohri outside Raghunath Mandir in Jammu on Thursday. — Excelsior/Rakesh
People celebrating Lohri outside Raghunath Mandir in Jammu on Thursday. — Excelsior/Rakesh

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Jan 13: Along with other parts of the country, Lohri was celebrated here today with traditional fervor and customary rituals.

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The winter festival was celebrated by lighting bonfires, eating festive food, dancing on the drum beats and distributing gifts. Lohri rituals were performed with the accompaniment of special Lohri songs.
In houses that recently had a marriage or childbirth, Lohri celebrations were witnessed at a higher pitch of excitement. In some houses, children were seen wearing special garlands made of groundnuts, dry fruits and candies on Lohri day. The celebrations were also held in gatherings and at social level.
Besides lighting of bonfire, singing and dancing formed an intrinsic part of the Lohri celebrations. People enjoyed the tradition of eating Gajak, ground nuts and jiggery and puffed rice.
During the day, children were seen going from door to door singing Lohri songs and they were given sweets and money as turning them back empty-handed is regarded inauspicious. In a few areas of the Jammu city, traditional Chajja dance and Hiran dance were also displayed by youth.
Pertinent to mention that Lohri in Jammu is special because of Chajja making in which young children prepare a replica of peacock, which is known as Chajja. They carry this Chajja and then go from one house to other house celebrating Lohri.
The bonfire was lit at sunset and people tossed sesame seeds, jiggery, sugar-candy and ‘Rewaries’ on the bonfire amid performing prayer and going around the fire, showing respect to the natural element of fire. Milk and water are also poured around the bonfire by the people to thank the Sun God and seeking his continued protection.
The significance and legends about this festival are many. Lohri marks the end of winter, and is a traditional welcome of longer days and the sun’s journey to the northern hemisphere by people in the northern region of the Indian subcontinent. Celebrated a day before Makar Sankranti, Lohri falls in the month of Paush and is generally celebrated on January 13.