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Lets first look at background of lohri and how and when it is celebrated,

Lohri marks the end of winter on the last day of Paush, and beginning of Magha (around January 13 and 14)names of hindi months . Lohri, fundamentally an agricultural festival is connected with merry-making. There’s belief that worshipping the sun, the energy giver, leads to harmony, prosperity and peace.

Lohri is essentially a festival dedicated to fire and the sun god. Fire is associated with concepts of life and health by hindu religion .It is the representative of the sun, and is thus related, on the one hand with rays of light, and on the other with gold. . It is the time when the sun transits the zodiac sign Makar (Capricorn), and moves towards the north. The new configuration lessens the ferocity of winter, and brings warmth to earth. It is to ward off the bitter chill of the month of January that people light bonfires, dance around it in a mood of bonhomie and celebrate Lohri.

That is why the Lohri fire gets sanctified and is venerated like a deity. On this occasion, people offer peanuts, popcorn and sweets made of til — chirva, gajak and revri — to propitiate fire as a symbol of the sun god.

Interestingly, though not strangely, the same festival in Tamil Nadu is known as Pongal, in Gujarat and Bengal as Makar Sankranti, and in Assam as Magha Bihu.

There are some interesting socio-cultural and folk-legends connected with Lohri. According to the cultural history of Punjab, Bhatti, a Rajput tribe during the reign of Akbar, inhabited parts of Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat (now in Pakistan). Dulla Bhatti, Raja of Pindi Bhattian, was put to death by the Mughal king for revolting against him. The tribal mirasis (street singers) trace the history of the tribe and interestingly claim Maharaja Ranjit Singh as one of its scions.

This is particularly a happy occasion for couples who for the first time celebrated Lohri after their marriage and also the first Lohri of the son born in a family. Children visit homes in the neighbourhood and sing songs.

Ceremonies that go with the festival of Lohri usually comprises of making a small image of the Lohri goddess with gobar (cattle dung), decorating it, kindling a fire beneath it and chanting its praises. The final ceremony is to light a large bonfire at sunset, toss sesame seeds, gur (jaggery), sugar-candy and revries in it, sit round it, sing, dance till the fire dies out. People take dying embers of the fire to their homes.

In Punjabi village homes, fire is kept going round the clock by use of cow-dung cakes. The men folk of the villages perform bhangra (an energetic Punjabi dance) on this day that is also associated with the ripening of crops. The dance manifests the vigour and vitality and exuberance of the people, in anticipation of money coming in after the cutting of a good harvest. During Lohri celebration, the drum plays a very important part. It provides the basic accompaniment to most of folk music.

....................................................................................... Now lets see soem basics of sikhism . Starting with the meaning of mool mantra (the basic sikh principle): Ik Onkar ,Satnam ,Karta Purukh ,Nirbhau ,Nirvair , Akal Murat ,Ajooni Sabhan(g) , Gurprasad " God is one .. Truth is his name ... He is the creator ...Fearless ...Without enmity .... the Immortal ...Self illuminated... and is obtainable by the grace of Guru . Now one of the main focus of sikh teachings is ONENESS of God . that is God is one . In English he/she is called as God , in hindi Bhagwaan ,by muslims as Allah and by Sikhs as waheguru . We find countless hymns in Guru Granth sahib emphasising this one ness of God . A result of sikh’s believe in one god is that Sikh does not believe in so called gods like rain god , sun god , river god etc as are common in Hinduism and some other religions and cultures .

As we detailed above the main reasons for celebrating lohri : 1.Worshipping of Sun/fire god 2. Folk lore of Dulha bhatti

Now in the light of above there is no way we can connect Sikhism and celebration of Lohri .

Sikhs do not worship fire. Unfortunately, many misguided sikhs do worship fire or Lohri because of its strong links to Punjabi culture.

Now this bring us to other question ? Which is summed wonderfully “I am a Sikh born and raised in England who is sick and tired of the conflict of tradition and religion. If our religion was formed to move away from Hindu beliefs, then why are we still living and performing their traditions and rituals????” We need to understand that there are certain customs prevalent in Punjab and Punjabi culture which attack at the very roots of Sikhism .Sikhs cannot afford to glorify those traditions in name of Punjabi culture .Now worshipping of fire God is against the basic Sikh concept of one God so lohri by no means should be celebrated in Sikh families. More over the way of its celebration where in food items are thrown into the burning fire is also reminiscent of the yagna being done by Hindu saints for pleasing fire god . The reason for over whelming acceptance of lohri in Sikh families can be attributed to the times when Sikhs were forced to live in forests owing to religious persecution by Mughals/Muslim rulers when Hindu and non-Sikh practices crept into gurudwras as gurdwaras were being looked after by Mahants or non-Sikhs.

Negative Social effect of lohri celebration : With the passage of time people started celebrating the “first lohri “ of a couple and “first lohri of a new born “Now when people celebrate first lohri of couple it is an occasion to extract gifts from the family of bride .And whne it is celebrated for new born child it is mostly celebrated for male child though some people have started celebrating it for female child too .And this again is made into an occasion to extract gifts from the family of mother of new born . This social aspect was given for your info .Irrespective and inspite of these affects sikh families should not celebrate the festival of lohri as it does not go along with teachings of sikh gurus .

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