As we know Halloween is a very popular festival in the western countries such as USA, Canada, etc where kids dress up in their favourite costumes to go Trick or Treating to collect candies. It is quite a fun activity for the kids as well as for the parents. In light of Halloween season, houses are decorated with ghost and other scary ornaments, as well as carved pumpkins. Even at work and schools, people dress up in the traditional black and orange Halloween colours as well as in dressed as celebrities, super heros, etc. All in all, it is fun activity for everyone.
Now does this sound somewhat familiar to Punjabis? Sort of reminds us of the memories of the festival of Lohri, does it not? The similarities being kids going around sing songs while being greeted with traditional Punjabi sweets such as gatchak, mufali (peanuts), reorhi, til paapri,etc. Oh eating mufali and reorhi in the winters is a delicious combination. The traditional songs usually start with Sundar Mundariye…and can be quite fun according whether the house gives candies or not. For example, if the kids are not satisfied by the fact that they weren’t given treats, they sing the couplet: Hukke te Hukka, eh ghar bhukha. When loosely translated into English, this mean this house is cheap Lorhi has many origins but it is usually celebrated during the winter months and great bonfires are lit as families and relatives gather around the fire together to celebrate Lohri.
Lohri is a fun loving family oriented festival, celebrated with great joy and spirit in Punjab. Another aspect of Lohri is that families get together to celebrate and congratulate on the auspicious occasion of a new born baby. Previously, people mostly celebrated or congratulated when a new born boy was born. However, this trend is changing and more and more families get together to celebrate Lohri whether it is a boy or a girl. And that’s how it should be and the change is for the better which respects all kids as one and as a gift. There have also been institutions or community awareness groups that spread awareness and celebrate Lohri for those families that have had a recent new born girl child. This is very heartening to see.
Lohri is for the masses irrespective of gender or other such matters as it further celebrates the end of winter and into the next season. With bonfires being the central focus point,families sit together to much on delicious sweets while singing joyous songs and congratulatory greetings to each other. Lohri also makes it a festival of sharing and giving.
Lohri would not be complete without the famous song, Sundar Mundariye, that’s sung by the kids as they visit houses to collect goodies. By the way, it should be noted that this tradition of kids singing songs and collecting candies by visiting houses has slowly been diminishing. In the old times, it was quite popular for kids to collect treats. Onto the famous song:
Sunder mundariye ho!
Tera kaun vichara ho!
Dullah Bhatti walla ho!
Dullhe di dhee viyayi ho!
Ser shakkar payee ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka ho!
Kudi da saalu paata ho!
Salu kaun samete!
Chacha gali dese!
Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!
Bum Bum bhole aaye!
Ek bhola reh gaya!
Sipahee far ke lai gaya!
Sipahee ne mari itt!
Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pitt!
Sanoo de de Lohri, te teri jeeve jodi!
Please share your own experiences on Lohri.