Lohri - A Festival That Brings Families Together
Lohri is a popular winter folk festival celebrated primarily by Sikhs and Hindus from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. It typically falls on the 13th of January and marks the end of the winter solstice. The festival is celebrated by lighting bonfires, singing and dancing, and exchanging sweets and gifts. Lohri is also considered a harvest festival and is a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and to pray for a good crop in the coming year.
Why Is It Celebrated?
Lohri is primarily celebrated as a harvest festival and marks the end of the winter solstice. It is a time to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and to pray for a good crop in the coming year. The festival is also seen as a celebration of the arrival of longer days and the return of the sun.
Additionally, Lohri has a deep cultural significance and is associated with the Punjabi folk tales and the worship of the god of fire, Agni. It is believed that the bonfires lit on Lohri are symbolic of the god of fire, and people jump over the fire to seek his blessings and protection.
Lohri also has a historical significance, it is said to have originated from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization and it has been celebrated for centuries.
In summary, Lohri is celebrated as a harvest festival, to mark the end of the winter solstice, to celebrate the arrival of longer days and return of the sun, and to seek blessings and protection of the god of fire.
How Is Lohri Celebrated?
Lohri is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and joy, mainly in the northern states of India, particularly in Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh. The celebrations typically begin in the evening and continue late into the night. Some of the common ways Lohri is celebrated are:
- Lighting of the Bonfire: The main attraction of Lohri is the lighting of a large bonfire, which is believed to symbolize the god of fire, Agni. People gather around the bonfire, sing and dance to traditional Lohri songs, and throw in sesame seeds, popcorn, and other traditional foods as offerings.
- Singing and Dancing: Lohri is a lively festival, and people sing and dance to traditional Punjabi songs and music. This is a great opportunity to celebrate with friends and family.
- Food and Sweets: Lohri is also a time for feasting and sharing traditional foods and sweets. Some of the popular Lohri foods are sarson ka saag (mustard greens) and makki ki roti (cornmeal flatbread), sweets like gur (jaggery) and peanuts, and puffed rice.
- Exchanging gifts: Lohri is also a time for exchanging gifts and sweets with friends and family. Children go from house to house singing traditional Lohri songs and are given sweets and money as a token of appreciation.
- Special Puja or prayers: Many families perform a special puja or prayers on Lohri to seek blessings and protection from the god of fire, Agni, for a good harvest and prosperity.
The Dishes Eaten During Lohri
- Sarson ka Saag: This is a classic Punjabi dish made with mustard greens and spinach, cooked with spices and served with makki ki roti (cornmeal flatbread).
- Makki ki Roti: This is a traditional flatbread made with cornmeal and is typically served with sarson ka saag.
- Peanut Brittle (Moongphali ki Chikki): A sweet made with jaggery and peanuts
- Gajak: A traditional sweet made from sesame seeds and jaggery.
- Rewari: A sweet made from gur (jaggery) and sesame seeds, it is one of the most traditional and famous sweets of Lohri.
- Popcorn and Revri: Lohri is also associated with sweet, salty and savory snacks, like popcorn, revri, and til laddoo (sesame seed ball)
- Makke ki Roti with Sarso ka Saag: A popular dish prepared during Lohri, made with cornmeal and mustard greens.
- Kheer: A sweet dish made of milk, sugar, and rice is a perfect dessert to end a meal on a sweet note.
- Lassi: A traditional Punjabi yogurt-based drink is also a popular refreshment during the Lohri festival.
Sarson Ka Saag Recipe
Sarson Ka Saag is a traditional Punjabi dish made with mustard greens and spinach. Here is a simple recipe that you can follow to make this delicious dish at home:
- 500 grams mustard greens
- 500 grams spinach
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1-inch ginger, grated
- 2-3 green chilies, chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp corn flour
- 2 tbsp butter or ghee
- Fresh lemon juice to taste
- Makki ki roti or cornmeal flatbread, for serving
- Rinse the mustard greens and spinach well and chop them finely.
- In a large pot or pressure cooker, add the chopped greens, onion, garlic, ginger, green chilies, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and salt.
- Add enough water to cover the greens, and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes until the greens are tender. If using a pressure cooker, cook for 2-3 whistles.
- Once the greens are cooked, add the corn flour and stir well.
- Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, until the saag thickens.
- Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Use a hand blender or a mixer grinder to blend the saag to a smooth consistency.
- Return the saag to the pot and heat it over medium flame.
- Once the saag starts to boil, add the butter or ghee and stir well.
- Add lemon juice and adjust salt as needed.
- Serve the saag hot with Makki ki roti or cornmeal flatbread.
Note: Sarson ka Saag has a unique flavor, it’s slightly bitter and spicy and many people like to add some jaggery(Gur) to balance the taste.
All of your celebrations are made easier with Milkbasket. You can make the best sarson ka saag at home while you order all our ingredients and they will be delivered at your doorstep.
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