Punjab sure knows how to celebrate. Be it for any aspect, Punjab and for that matter, Punjabis have zeal to make every celebration a memorable one. Lohri, the winter harvest festival of Punjab is a perfect example of this statement.

Celebrated a day before Makar Sankranti, the festival celebrates the rabi crop season and the passing of the winter solstice. Post-Lohri, the chilling cold passes away and signals longer days. The customary bonfire is considered good luck that welcomes in the new season minus the extreme chill, and burns away the negativities of the older season.

The festival and rituals are always much talked about. However, having seen the celebration up close, in my Punjabi sasural; I have observed how peculiar the food served and eaten on Lohri is. Additionally, all these foods have a uniqueness that perhaps signifies the humility of the occasion of Lohri. Its food engulfs the menu of varied diasporas while signifying something meaningful. In fact, Lohri food engulfs the way of eating in rural Punjab, and comes across as an ode to Punjabi roots.

Fresh And Seasonal Produce

The peculiar feature of Lohri food is that the traditional Lohri menu uses ingredients that are seasonal. Til-mooli that is eaten the morning after the Lohri bonfire is the produce of winter solstice. It signifies that the farmers had had a good crop. The till or black sesame is seen as a symbol of warding off all bad luck for the next crop season.

Chana Dal Khichdi

Again, an ode to basics, the chana dal khichdi is cooked like pulao and is not of the regular soupy consistency you associated with khichdi. The yellow and the rice signify the two basic crops that work as the primary food for our entire country almost.

Of All Things Jaggery

The gajak, jaggery coated puffed rice and the gur offered into the bonfire on Lohri signify the seasonal titbits that you munch on in winter. Technically, these all help you build better immunity and are consumed with the intent of fighting off the harsh winters (think Punjab and the Himachali winters)!

...Of Roots, Humility And Unity

Lohri food is humble and not lavish. It is simple and rooted. It is a celebration of basics that fill you up, without the need to be extravagant. Lohri is a reminder of your roots, your land and your culture. It celebrates the brazen earth, the and you till and that is the ultimate truth. We all are here just temporality and all it takes to be satisfied is a happy humble meal that is had amongst people who matter. That is what the bonfire does--it brings together your family and friends. This is all that stays. The pandemic has at least reinstated this message. Happy Lohri!!

About Author: Satarupa B. Kaur has been writing professionally since a decade now. Always on the go; she loves travel, books, playtime with her toddler as she explores new places and food!