It is that time of the year again when the air is filled with the sweetness of sesame bars and the winter chill is combated with a cosy, ceremonial bonfire. But the fun doesn’t end with the Lohri
Maghi is the time to reap the goodness of the season
It is that time of the year again when the air is filled with the sweetness of sesame bars and the winter chill is combated with a cosy, ceremonial bonfire. But the fun doesn’t end with the Lohri night.
Free sweets and langar (community kitchen) are offered on Maghi, which is celebrated a day after Lohri across the region.
The rice pudding cooked in sugarcane juice and saag (green mustard or spinach) on Lohri are actually eaten the following day, Maghi or the sangrand of the Magh. In Punjab, Magh is the eleventh month in the Nanakshahi calendar.
Sangrand of the Magh has special significance for Sikhs. They observe the festival of Maghi, associated with the martyrdom of 40 Sikh volunteers known as ‘muktey’ (the liberated). They are reverentially remembered during the ritual of the ardas (Sikh prayer). Many believe that it is an auspicious day to take a dip in the river and give away things to charity.
Every year on the first day of the month of Magh, Sikhs from across the world gather at Muktsar to commemorate the heroism of the 40 martyrs and Mai Bhago, who displayed exemplary qualities of a leader and to honour her place in Sikh history.
Free sweets and langar (community kitchen) are offered. As a tradition, women of the house keep raw rice, lentils and jaggery in a plate and pray.
Humility and charity
Mohanpreet Kaur, 65, a resident of Chandigarh, shares the significance of the ‘shabad gyan’ stated in Guru Granth Sahib. She highlights the fact that people recite shabad kirtan. “The Guru tells us that during this month, the Sikh’s cleansing bath should be the dust of saintly congregation (sadh sangat) – be humble; be polite. One should meditate and involve others also. By doing this, the filth of bad karma is removed together with one’s ego. Desires and greed will depart when one walks on the path of the truth.”