Every year the streets of North India get immersed in the festivities of Lohri, the Winter Solstice festival of Punjab. Every lane in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab celebrates its own Lohri festival with an inviting fervor brightened by the flames of bonfire, sweet fragrance of gajak and its eternal companion, mungfali(peanuts). As the days promise to be longer and nights to be shorter, the Lohri festival marks the end of the harvest cycle, now ready to be reaped and enjoyed. The world might have become a global one but these small festivals still tie us to our roots, our traditions and a community spirit that otherwise gets lost in the commercial webs that we have created for ourselves.
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As 13th of January approaches I cannot stop myself from comparing this festival to the Western festival of Halloween, now that I am well aware as to what the latter is; thanks to more and more Indians celebrating it today. A comparison over here might be far fetched but to see the two from the same perspective puts forward atleast one idea that this world still believes in the significance of festivals to bind humans together.
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Let us look at how these two festivals are similar and different from each other!
Kids Get to do a lot in both the festivals
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One of the traditions followed in Lohri is that kids collect sweets, nuts and snacks such as gajak, til, rewri, jaggery and moongphali as well as some cash from their neighbor. They go from door to door singing folk songs and asking for delicacies. If refused, one of the kids in the group becomes an outlaw and enters the house to smash clay pots or the clay stove! Doesn’t it remind you of Halloween? During Halloween also kids collect candies as a treat from people and if not given, they hold tricks against them.
Yay! Kids get their best in both the festivals indeed!
Delicacies- an integral part of Lohri and Halloween
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Indians love to try a variety of food when it comes to any festival. Infact our festivals are defined by the gastronomic delight that they offer to us. Lohri is celebrated by having those mouth melting gajjaks and rewaries whose taste defies to leave our mouth! On the other hand, candies form a huge part of Halloween. After all, the candies are the ones that the children love to gorge on this festival!
The Legends that define both the festivals
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Lohri revolves around the legend of "Dulla Bhatti”, the "Robinhood figure” of Punjab. This man was indeed a cool dude! He used to help women, poor people but was at the same time seen as an outlaw figure. On the other hand, Halloween abounds with many legends which are Gothic at all levels. Oral legends and folklore have always been an inseparable part of any festival! Isn’t it?
Folk Ballads- the essence of these festivals
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"Sunder mundriye ho!
Tera kaun vicaharaa ho!
Dullah bhatti walla ho!”
This is how Lohri gets sung! Not only this folk song adds to the fun element and tapping music to dance upon, but also represents the zeal of Punjabi culture. On the other hand, Halloween has its own songs such as Sir Cawline ballad and the Workhouse Boy that add a lyrical charm to the festival.
How to clothe- thats the question!
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True to its vibrant Punjabi culture, Lohri gets celebrated by wearing beautiful and colourful clothes that add a zing to the festival. Halloween on the other hand gets celebrated by wearing dark costumes that add to the Gothic element of the festival. Both are pretty though!
Whatever the similarities and differences might be, this world can be certainly a better place if we understand the import of these festivals and apply those messages in our lives! Happy Lohri! Halloween is too far yet!More on festivals from us:
Top 10 Best Halloween Destinations For Your Spooky Getaways
16 Creepy Halloween Customs and Superstitions around The World
Indian Festivals You Should Witness This January 2016