India is one of the ancient lands of culture and heritage thus claiming to be one of the finest resources in the study of world culture. It depicts the versatility and essence of culture irrespective of caste, creed, and religion. It is evident from the variety of festivals celebrated every year. Hence “festivals” play a key role to ignite the richness and flavor of the occasion. Different kinds of festivals for numerous occasions are celebrated all over the country having their own individuality. Each festival reflects tradition and heritage of the caste or tribe or religion from which they originate. People from all over the country participate in each kind of festivals sharing the brotherhood among them. Festival is a kind of bond which links all religions and regions of the country, redefining their unity and secularity in this modern era.
The Sikh religion commonly termed as Sikhism is one of the eminent religions of India. It portrays toughness, discipline, ability right from their origin. This is evident from the various Gatka (martial arts) teams, which started to come into existence way back in the seventeenth century under the guidance and supervision of Guru Gobind Singh. The religion is itself a symbol of historical heritage and is still one of the leading in India. Sikhism also throws light to secularism, integrity and equality which was initially brought in the limelight by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Sahib.
One of the most lively festivals celebrated by the Punjabis is the Lohri. The origin and roots of Lohri can be traced from the myths of Dulla Bhatti, the ardent Muslim hero who besides being a robber was a saving soul for the Hindus. The Lohri festival is celebrated with enough zeal and enthusiasm, showing their love and respect and paying their homage to Dulla Bhatti. In ancient times the festival was carried by young childrens singing Lohri songs and hymns, door to door for food stuffs. The festival also includes of making the Lohri goddess out of cowdung followed by its decorations, lightning of bonfire , chanting of hymns, praises, prayers, singing and dancing known as the parikrama. The emminent part being the set up of a bonfire of wood, canes, seeds, gur,and to sing and dance around it untill the fire dyes out.
The prasad of the festival consisted of til, gajjak, gajjery, peanuts and popcorns. The old people of the community are respected and rewarded by their family members, whereas the young kids would receive blessings of their elders which was considered to be very sacred. During Lohri young guys were allowed to propose to their girls in front of their family by beating a sacred stick on the ground, the girl would respond by throwing sand or seeds into the fire, which is a very old cultural activity.
Lohri will prevail being one of the most enthusiastic and lively festivals of India. It depicts the picture of culture and heritage of their religion. Lohri songs and hymns are very popular not only in Punjab but throughout the country.