what does one say about lohri? it is the festival of.. ? some might ask why categorize it into a form that is universally acceptable and instantly recognizable. I’ll tell you where I’m coming from.
Indian festivals such as Holi and Diwali are being celebrated more and more globally. partly because of the amount of people that have now settled abroad, and finally found a voice, and the percentage of people that travel nowadays as opposed to ten years ago. partly because of India’s new-found global reach and the fact the world is now as accessible to India, as India is to the world.
not many, and I’m taking about non-desis, would remember the words Holi or Diwali. but ask anyone and they know about the ‘festival of colors’ and the ‘festival of lights.’ this has suited me to some extent and so has the others. rather than go into the history and mythology of it all, and bore myself for something people would have little appreciation of anyway, I just use those exact terms when someone asks me about them. and so I thought what would I say when explaining I’d been invited to celebrate lohri.
thought of inventing something like ‘the festival of fire’ but that seemed stupid. leaving that aside for the moment, it was nice attending lohri about a week back. I haven’t been in India during this period for a very long time and it seemed, if nothing, different for a change. it also brought back memories. memories of childhood, of a time long forgotten, of joyful moments that transpired as if in a different lifetime. nostalgia, perhaps. I was a bit disappointed to see, however, how grown up lads couldn’t light a fire to save their lives. what have they been doing all this time? playing with their phones, I imagine. anyway, that’s a story for another day.
so how did I explain it to my non-desi coworkers? I’m not sure. I could’ve said something like: it’s a lot like Halloween, but with fire and without the ugly bits. don’t think so, but I think they understood me. of course they remembered nothing the next day since I hadn’t really classified it. the way I look at it, just remember the names of my festivals just as I remember those of yours. so lohri is lohri, as hard as it might be to pronounce for you.
funny that my original intention was to just upload a photo and I ended up writing an essay. but you see, I was trying to address a ‘burning’ issue. how do you describe lohri?