NEW DELHI – Thousands of Hindus and Sikhs gathered around bonfires on Sunday and filled the sky with colorful kites of all sizes to celebrate the Indian festival of Lohri, which marks the passing of the winter solstice and the coldest period of winter.
The festival, which is especially popular in the northern state of Punjab and across north India, sees people dress up in their best clothes and take part in traditional folk dances, while sweets typical of the season are also enjoyed.
In Amritsar, a major city in Punjab, sweet shops reserved a special corner for “khajoor,” a typical local delicacy made of flour, sugar and ghee, a type of home-made butter.
Bonfires are lit in streets and courtyards at night, with people dancing nearby on drum beats while the day is spent flying kites during the festival, which is held in the month of January every year to celebrate the end of cold days and extremely low temperatures.
“As the sun enters Capricorn and the weather begins to change, I extend my warm greetings and best wishes to all fellow citizens in India and abroad on the occasion of Lohri (...) to celebrate the harvesting season,” Indian President Ram Nath Kovind said in his message on the eve of the festival on Saturday.