Lohri is a seasonal festival of North India and has become one of the main attractions in the south Asian community of Winnipeg. “Lohri is celebrated in a traditional way by sitting together around the fire, singing the traditional songs, dancing and enjoying with our children, family & friends.”
Lohri was originally celebrated on winter solstice day, being the shortest day and the longest night of the year to denote the last of the coldest days of winter. Lohri celebrations will reach a higher pitch of excitement in the evening. The bonfire is lit at sunset in the main village square. People toss sesame seeds, sugar-candy and other sweets onto the bonfire, sit around it, sing and dance till the fire dies out. Some people perform a prayer and go around the fire. This is to show respect to the natural element of fire. This ritual is performed for thanking the Sun God and seeking his continued protection.
The vision of AWOW in hosting the Festival is to showcase our culture and preserve the heritage as well as connect our youth with our traditions & heritage. This festival provides a great opportunity for young generation to connect with the cultural values and traditions, which have been in practice for generations. Kids & adults of all age groups perform ethnic dances on this day, especially kids performing with their parents & grandparents. By having different communities participate an increase in respect and understanding will be achieved.
As a tradition, we make the “Rangoli” which is an art, originated in India in which patterns are created on the floor using materials such as dyed rice, dry flour, stained sand or flower petals. The purpose of “Rangoli” is decoration, and it is thought to bring good luck. We do put fire pit front of the stage and decorate it with traditional/seasonal goodies. Performers and families dance around the fire to celebrate.