Punjabi Lohri with multicultural flavour

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Attendees enjoy the festivities of home while celebrating lohri, reports JASMINDER KAUR

The Sikh Welfare Council of Victoria (SWCV) recently initiated an entertaining event to celebrate the Punjabi festival of Lohri in Melbourne. The event involved many diverse communities of Victoria who got together to promote friendship and cross cultural understanding.

Members of the Victorian Sikh Association (VSA) joined the SWCV in participating in the celebration with great enthusiasm. More than 200 people turned up at Ashburton Hall on January 14, with all joining in the excitement of Punjabi dhol beats, bhangra, giddha dances and folk songs. The women also played the traditional dholki and sang folk songs around a real Lohri bonfire.

Mrs Hardeep Madan from SWCV said, “One should celebrate life in every possible way no matter what the reason: births, marriages, harvest or culture, there are many opportunities for us to live it up. Lohri is just one of them. I wish this year turns out to be an on-going celebration of life and friendships.”

At the SWCV celebration, delicious food was catered by Tandoori Junction restaurant, followed by a range of sweets donated by the Uppal and Pasricha families to celebrate the first Lohri of their grandchildren and the newly-weds in their families. Special songs were sung to offer congratulations and blessings to the families.

Traditionally, Lohri is a celebrated on the evening before Makar sankranti. It is a vibrant festival that marks the end of winter and signifies the harvesting of crops. The festival has no religious significance but it holds a great social significance, and is celebrated as a day of imparting social love to one and all

The focus of Lohri is on the bonfire. The prasad comprises of five main items: til (gingelly), gajak (a hardened bar of peanuts in jaggery or sugar syrup), gur (jaggery), moongphali (peanuts) and phuliya (popcorn). Apart from celebrating a good harvest, Lohri also celebrates fertility in Indian families. The first marriage or the birth of a child in the family calls for celebration at the time of Lohri.