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Lohri festival: Celebrations of fertility and fanfare at Hari Om Mandir

By Suresh & Usha Bodiwala

Medinah, IL (Jan. 19, 2015): This year also The festival of Lohri was celebrated with great fanfare at Hari Om Mandir located at 6 North 20 Medinah Road, Medinah, IL on Tuesday, January 13, 2015. As usual attendance was house full. The weather during the day didn’t deter excitement of the devotees. The devotees witnessed a lively night of blazing bonfire. Lohri was celebrated with traditional food of Saag (mustard) and Makki (corn) ki roti and lassi (buttermilk), bonfire, tappes, and songs suitable for the occasion. Lohri was distinguished to honor the day of harvesting crop. The time was considered very auspicious and special to a farmer as it rewarded him of his toil all the year round

A week before the Lohri preparations started including decorating the Mandir. A nicely decorated Punjabi Beda (Village) was created by Aarty Singla and team giving the real feeling of being in a Punjabi pind. It was decorated with Chullah, Charkha (Spinning wheel), fresh vegetables, and sugar canes and many small decorative items creating a Punjabi village atmosphere. Lohri is also one of the most celebrated harvest festival in Punjab. It is the time for people to thank God for his kindness and for a plentiful harvest in the coming season. It is a time for communion celebration.

A large number of devotees attended the Lohri function in the Mandir. Folks started coming from 5.00pm and stayed until the Bonfire and Aarti at 9.00pm. However, the celebration was not only limited to lighting bonfire but the traditional dances; Ladies group lead by Anshu Paul did Jago and Gidda (Punjabi folk dance), traditionally dressed ladies danced through the hall carrying a pot gaggar decorated with lighted candles and singing jaago song. Special tappaas or to be specific, Punjabi verses were performed by the ladies to mark the day. Our Dhol player Ajay Ghai was on all the times and his melodious DHOL beats could not stop folks to start Bhangra. Everyone in the hall started dancing and celebrating the festival with immense joy and pleasure. Prayers were done for families with newlyweds , the new born babies and everyone by our learned priest Pt. Dinesh kumar.

Ayodhia Salwan (Board of Trustee Chairman), wished ‘Happy Lohri’ to all and explained the importance of Lohri and Dullah Bhatti. He sang the traditional Lohri Song “ Sunder Mundriya…ho”.  President Indrajit Sarkar greeted everyone and said “May this harvest season bring everyone prosperity and help fly high like a kite“. He also thanked everyone for their generous donation.

At the time of Bon fire- preist pt. Dinesh kumar chanted prayers for Agni devta to seek abundance and prosperity and asked president Indrajit Sarkar and chairman Ayodhya Salwan along with other board members to light the Bon fire. People gathered around the bonfire and threw rewari, chidwa, peanuts & popcorns into the flames of the bonfire and make merry by dancing & singing traditional folk songs.

Special thanks to  India House, Star Foods and various devotees for arranging sarson ka saag, Makki ki Roti,Kheer etc. under the guidance of food and Prasad incharge Ms. Usha Verma. Ms. Verma did excellent work managing the food for more than 1000 devotees attending the lohri function.

Devotees relished popcorns, gajak, revari, bhugga and peanuts as the prashad.

Hari Om Mandir Invites everyone to celebrate the next event “Maha Shiv Ratri” on Feb 17th.

Executive Board: Indrajit Sarkar;President, Anil Saxena, Anita Rawal; Secretary, Gopal Tiwari; Treasurer, Aarty Singla; Special Events, ShamTaxali; Inside Property Management; Ashok Sharma; Publication, Usha Verma; Food & Prasad.

Board of Trustees: Ayodhia Salwan; Chairman, Nirmal Bagga; Vice Chairman, Mohan Karamchandani; Secretary, Naveen Paul; Ram Verma; Mahendra Thakkar; Subhash Sharma; Amar Singla

Priests:  Pt.Dinesh Kumar