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Makar Sankranti, Lohri, Pongal

Lohri or Pongal or Makars Sankranti or Uttarayan is the same festival celebrated all over India with different names. It marks the beginning of the harvest season. It is celebrated as a gratitude to the Sun God, cattle and nature for making a bounteous harvest possible.

Lohri night traditionally falls on the longest night of the year known as the winter solstice. Lohri festival indicates that the biting cold of the winter is ending and happy sunny days are arriving.

What do we do on Lohri?

Bonfire is the top highlight of Lohri. Traditionally, families used to gather around bonfires and sing folk songs like Sundariye Mundariye Ho. Nowadays, most people plug in a speaker to play songs off of YouTube or other music apps.Dishes made of rewri, gajak, peanuts and other seasonal products are snacks — as well as bonfire fodder.

What do you put on a Lohri fire?

People sing and dance around the Lohri fire and throw foods like gajak, popcorn, puffed rice and others into the fire as ‘tributes’ to the gods in exchange for blessings. Lohri is also considered especially auspicious for newlywed couples and parents with newborn babies.

Why do we burn fire on Lohri?

Folklore of Punjab believes that the flames of the bonfire lit on the day of Lohri carry the messages and prayers of the people to the sun god to bring warmth to the planet to help crops grow. In exchange, the sun god blesses the land and ends the days of gloom and cold. The next day is celebrated as Makar Sankranti. For some, the bonfire symbolically indicates that the bright days are ahead of the people’s lives and acts as the carrier of people’s prayers to the sun god — it's just a really good excuse to party.

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