Why Is Food Thrown Into Lohri’s Fire? Here’s All About The Cultural Significance

Explore the joyous gatherings around bonfires and the symbolic offering of harvest delights into the flames.

by Mallika Khurana
Why Is Food Thrown Into Lohri’s Fire? Here’s All About The Cultural Significance

Lohri is a festival that heralds the triumph of light over darkness, marking not just the end of winter’s grasp but a celebration steeped in tradition, community, and the bounty of the harvest. This folk festival is primarily celebrated in the northern regions of India, especially in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and parts of Himachal Pradesh, marking the end of the winter solstice. It falls on the 13th of January each year, a day before Makar Sankranti. The festival holds cultural significance and is primarily associated with the harvest season. It commemorates the winter solstice and the longer days that follow, symbolising the end of winter.

The Spirited Saga Of Lohri Festivities

lohri food
Photo Credits: Canva

Celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour, Lohri holds deep cultural importance among the Punjabi community. Families and communities come together, light bonfires, sing traditional songs, perform folk dances, exchange greetings, and enjoy traditional foods.  People gather around bonfires in the evening, symbolising the end of the cold season. They also offer prayers to the bonfire and toss sesame seeds, peanuts, and other food items into the fire. They also seek blessings for prosperity and abundance.

People sing traditional Lohri songs like “Sunder Mundriye” and engage in vibrant dances like Bhangra and Gidda around the bonfire. These songs depict the richness of Punjabi culture, narrating tales of folklore and celebrating the spirit of the festival. Families and friends also exchange gifts, sweets, and traditional delicacies like gajak, rewri, peanuts, popcorn, and til (sesame) sweets as a symbol of love and goodwill.

But, Why Is Food Tossed Into The Fire? 

food in fire
Photo Credits: Canva

The practice of throwing food items like peanuts, sesame seeds, jaggery, popcorn, and other offerings into the Lohri bonfire holds symbolic significance. It is believed that by offering these items to the fire, people seek blessings from Agni. They also express gratitude for a bountiful harvest. The act is also seen as a way to welcome good luck into their lives.

Additionally, throwing these food items into the fire is considered a form of reverence and an offering to the natural elements, seeking their favour for the upcoming agricultural season. It’s a way of embracing the cycle of life, from the end of the winter season to the arrival of spring and the planting of new crops. The crackling sound of these items burning also signifies the breaking of the winter spell and the arrival of warmth.

Lohri is a vibrant festival that celebrates the spirit of community, the bounty of nature, and the joy of togetherness.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva

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