S. Harpal Singh

Lohri celebrated with gaiety and fanfare

Revellers dance and sing around a bonfire

ADILABAD: It is during the ‘merry making’ festivals like Lohri that the colour of Punjabi life comes alive even in places as far removed as Adilabad.

There is much bonhomie around the Lohri bonfire as members of Punjabi community and others together revel in the festivities and make a wish “Aadar aye, daliddar jaey” - let honour come, wretchedness go - in the ensuing year.

The festival of Lohri, coinciding with Bhogi in Andhra Pradesh, Pongal in Tamil Nadu and Magha Bihu in Assam, is celebrated, with few exceptions, on January 13. Colourfully attired participants dance and sing around a bonfire in the evening to bid adieu to the winter season.

This festival of agrarian community is especially significant for families wherein a marriage had been performed or a birth had taken place before the festival. The first Lohri of a newly-wed couple or a new-born baby becomes an occasion to introduce the new members to the community.

The Lohri bonfire is similar to the ‘Bhogi mantalu’ in Andhra Pradesh. Seasonal fruits and other eatables and traditional sweets are used as offerings in the bonfire while praying to Agni, the God of fire.

The bonfire offerings and ‘pershad’ includes phulley (popcorn), moongphali (peanuts) and gajak and revri (the special sweet in the form of medium and small sized tablets made of jaggery and sesame).

On Wednesday, the tiny Punjabi community in Adilabad town organised Lohri to celebrate the arrival of a new member in one of its households.

The community members and families of their local friends assembled at Marwadi dharamshala for the evening’s revelry.

Activities began with the traditional ‘ardas’ or prayers followed by youngsters dancing to the vibrant tune of the Bhangra and Gidha. Women sang Lohri songs to the beat of the dhol.

Mouth-watering dishes

The celebration this year was also different because of inclusion of the standard Punjabi culinary item ‘sarson da saag, makke di roti’.

While the makka or maize is abundant, the sarson or mustard is not easily available locally, making the dish a rarity even for the Punjabis here.