Sweetness of rewari, fragrance of popcorn, illumination of bon fire and musical traditions; the pompous Lohri is here. The festival of happiness and joy holds immense traditional and cultural values. It is widely celebrated among parts of North India on 13th January every year. On the eve of this festival people gather around a bon fire and celebrate while dancing and singing traditional songs. Some of the unknown facts about this beautiful festival are as follows:
- People believe that this festival is named after wife of Sant Kabir, Loi. Whereas another tale suggests that Holika and Lohri were sisters.
- The festival is dedicated to Sun God as it is the transition phase from winters to the warmth of springs.
- This festival marks the beginning of the harvest season and is a way to adore God for successful harvest in the new season.
- The festival of Lohri is often related to the legend of Dulla Bhatti who was a heroic character during the Mughal Empire. Lohri is celebrated in honor of Dulla Bhatti with folk songs describing his brave saga.
- The new bride is like a blessing to the family, similar to this festival of success and prosperity. Therefore newlywed couple celebrate this festival with all their family and friends.
- People light a large bonfire at sunset, toss sesame seeds, gur, sugar-candy and rewaries in it, sit round it, sing, and dance till the fire dies out.
As the Earth travels around the Sun in its orbit, the north to south position of the Sun changes over the course of the year due to the changing orientation of the Earth’s tilted rotation axes. The dates of zero tilt of the Earth’s equator correspond to the Spring Equinox and Autumn Equinox.
What is it?
The Autumn Equinox is celebrated when day and night has approximately equal length. After this date, the North Pole begins to tilt away from the sun and evenings in the northern hemisphere becoming increasingly dark in the run up to the Winter Solstice. So on this day the tilt of the Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the Sun’s rays.
This event is not just a physical or geographical phenomenon but has various traditions and cultures associated with it throughout the world. It has a major connection to harvesting as the season in northern hemisphere moves from summers to winters.
For mystics, the cycles of the sun have their special significance. Going back to their most ancient origins, the various myths and rituals surrounding the solar journey are reflective of a universal process of spiritual change: the ascendency from the material to the spiritual, the struggle against inner darkness, and the victory of spiritual light.
This is a process that mystics aim to experience within themselves, on a personal level. It’s a universal process, not owned by any place or time but having clear and unique manifestations in many cultures throughout history.
In India this day has special connection with Goddess Kali. The divine mother goddess, symbolized as a female of great power, is a feminine aspect of each person’s own spiritual being. She has different roles, but in the autumn equinox her role as the one who fights alongside the negativity and destroys the egos. Kali is said to inhabit a cremation ground, which is the place where the egos are killed and destroyed in alchemical fire.
Thus this year Autumn Equinox falls on 23rd September, and may each one of us work on our inner being with the changing seasons and transform as a better being.