Lohri festival: Celebrations of fertility and magnificence at Hari Om Mandir
Unprecedented crowds thronged the Hari Om Mandir in Medinah on Jan. 13 to celebrate the vibrant Festival of Lohri! This festival has always been celebrated in HOM in the traditional North Indian style, with the favorite foods, clothing, songs, customs, etc. of Punjab. This year, too, despite the very cold and frigid temperatures, devotees from far and wide came to the temple in unexpected numbers -- close to a 1,000 -- to enjoy the festivities.
The temple management had made adequate arrangements to serve the special meal of the season -- Makki Ki Roti, Saag, Lassi and Gur Wale Chawal. Along with this, the traditional items like Bhugga, popcorn, Rewari, Moongphali, Khajoor and Chirvara were distributed as Prasad. The food was relished by one and all! People were raving about the delicious food, and truly appreciated the immense efforts put in by the ladies, who had spent the morning cooking all the delicacies.
Another star attraction was a beautiful village of Punjab, (Pind in Punjabi), set up to depict the true culture and ambience of this festival. Colorful Phulkaris adorned the walls, while idols of young girls in typical Punjabi suits & boys in colorful turbans, and were displayed to showcase the village scene. A Charkha, a Chakki, a Dahi Matki, a Well, a hand cart full of peanuts, rickshaws, a cart laden with the harvest crop, Manjis, Pirhis, some of the commonly seen items in the streets of a Punjab village, were all displayed in this HOM village. Men with Dhols and women in their Giddha spirit also shown on these streets, completed the entire visual!
Lohri is a celebration of prosperity, new beginnings, births, weddings, etc. and spreads the joy of the upcoming bright season. After enjoying a sumptuous dinner, people gathered in the congregation hall to sing and dance on this auspicious occasion. A group of ladies carrying colorful earthern pots on their heads, popularly called "Jaggo", danced to Punjabi folk songs, and in no time, the entire hall was seen clapping & dancing, and charged with energy!
Last but not the least, the Lohri bonfire was lighted and people gathered around to offer the Prasad items to the Holy God of Fire. As the "Sunder Mundriye" Lohri song echoed to the beat of the Dhol, everybody -- young and old -- was seen dancing and enjoying. The Evening concluded on a joyous note … wishing each other "Happy Lohri" and looking forward to a bright future.