Today is Lohri, the traditional harvest festival widely celebrated in Punjab and surrounding areas. With a large Punjabi population in Delhi, the festival is a big event in the Capital, too.
The outdoor celebrations are attended by a large crowd — friends, neighbours and family alike. So tonight, expect bonfires, Punjabi songs and dancing to the beats of dhol, besides the sweet smell of peanuts and jaggery being roasted over open fire. Tradition calls for throwing phulle (popcorn), revari, gajak and moongfali (peanuts) into the bonfire while taking a parikrama (circle) around it.
“There will also be dholwalley for traditional Punjabi songs and dance,” says Meeta Sachdeva, a resident of Tilak Nagar, who will be celebrating her first Lohri after marriage.
“There will be a lavish traditional buffet laid out, with delicacies like makki ki roti, sarson ka saag, dal makhni and more. There will also a DJ console,” she says.
There are many who chose not to hold bonfires in their lawn or courtyard. Instead, they celebrate the evening along with other residents of their colony at some common site, like the community park. “It’s not really a big function unless someone has got married or a baby is born,” says Mansi Chibber, a Noida resident. “We take part in our colony celebrations . We dance, sing, eat. A mixture of popcorn, peanuts, sesame sweets are given to all as an offering.”
Sudha Sharda, a resident of Karol Bagh says, “Apart from the regular bonfire, Punjabi songs are also sung. Children collect Lohri by singing songs such as Hullay ni Maiyee Hullay, Sunder mundriye ho. People dance and generally have a good time.”
While for many this is an evening of festivity, for a few, Lohri translates into a hard night’s work. S. Kumar Rana of Bhartiya Dhol, a music band, says, “Lohri is a very busy day. We get around 20 to 25 requests for playing dhol. Since morning we start practicing and warming up. And yes, we have special uniforms for tonight.”