What is Lohree? – Jespal Singh Brar

Lohri is a Punjabi cultural event and is a festival that has been celebrated for thousands of years and its genesis is in Western-Eurasia, argues Jespal Singh Brar. Even today it is celebrated across Western-Eurasia albeit with different names but always with the same theme of a “bon-fire”, singing, dancing and symbols of rejuvenation such as seeds.

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| Jespal Singh Brar | Opinion | 10 Feb 2015 | Asia Samachar |

 

Lohree is a Punjabi cultural event and is a festival that has been celebrated for thousands of years and its genesis is in Western-Eurasia, argues our latest opinion piece on the subject. Even today it is celebrated across Western-Eurasia albeit with different names but always with the same theme of a “bon-fire”, singing, dancing and symbols of rejuvenation such as seeds.

bonfire-clip

 

By Jespal Singh Brar

The Punjab has been a region of migrations and the melting pot of races and cultures since antiquity. This is borne by the genotype and phenotype of those who are from Punjab. Punjab shares a contiguous geographical land with the Iranic world. Many religions have also shared in the fabric of the greater Punjab region. The people living in this Punjab region have followed these religions; Animist, Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Vedic, Buddhist, Islam and Sikh. Thus Punjab has a mixed heritage in terms of culture, religion and genetics.

Many Sikhs see Hinduism as an existential threat to the Sikh religion. Many apply Vedic metaphysics as a measure to explain regarding Lohree (also spelt as lohri), without using other yardsticks to make comparisons. Thus we have a fundamental weakness by missionaries, Damdami Taksalis and intellectuals to explain adequately what Lohree is. Limited by the knowledge in explaining what Lohree is, the folks in opposition to Lohree have been applying the Hegelian principle without knowing it, when they cannot explain where Lohree originated.

So what is Lohree? Contrary to popular beliefs based on individual perceptions;

  • neither is this a festival to recognize the birth of boys,
  • neither it is to pray to the fire God,
  • neither was it started because of Dullah Bhatti a legendary hero of Punjab who helped get girls married,
  • neither it is because of Brahmanical rites,
  • neither is it because of the Dhru Prahland mythology and the connection with Holika the aunt of Dhru,
  • neither is it a harvest festival,
  • neither is it a Sikh Festival,

but it is a Punjabi cultural event and is a festival that has been celebrated for thousands of years and its genesis is in Western-Eurasia. Even today it is celebrated across Western-Eurasia albeit with different names but always with the same theme of a “bon-fire”, singing, dancing and symbols of rejuvenation such as seeds. These “bon-fire” festivals display local cultural variations from the Balkans all the way to the western Indian subcontinent. This “bon-fire” festival has many names and in Punjabi it is Lohree as we all know it and is celebrated as part of the Punjabiat cultural identity just like dances; bhangra and giddha. Thus it is not religious in nature.

To put it in a more clear perspective and to view it from another angle; are we going to deny a person of Chinese ethnicity and who is a Sikh by religion, the happiness to celebrate the Chinese New Year? To affirm his or her Chinese cultural identity? There is a difference between religion and culture. Some Sikhs are in denial that these are two very different aspects of one’s identity.

This “bon-fire” cultural festival is known by many names such as Nowruz also. It is not a co-incidence that the Iranics from the Balkans to the Indian subcontinent celebrated these “bon-fire” festivals after the winter solstice. It is also not a co-incident that the Persians use the word- Aajeel for dried nuts, berries and raisins, as an important symbol in the celebration of Nowruz. This is akin to the Punjabi application of Tael and dried nuts as part of the Lohree celebration. The Persians celebrate on Tuesday night, with people setting up a bon fire, with young and old celebrating around the bon fire with songs and gestures of merriment. The fire is to symbolize rebirth in nature and is a happy occasion. This ancient ritual is practiced after the depth of winter has passed. The dates when these bon-fire rituals are celebrated have been based on the use of different calendars and also due to the modification of calendars over the centuries. In different regions it is celebrated with local variations. But generally these “bon-fire” festivals are celebrated post winter and during spring time.

We collectively need to stop using the straw-man concept of using “Bipraan ke reet” to explain Lohree. In a more crude term, “Bipraan ke reet” has become the “boogey-man” to define what is misunderstood and cannot be explained regarding Lohree.

If Lohree was rooted in Hindu spirituality, it would have been celebrated as a pan-Indian Hindu cultural event like Diwali. The reality is, it is not celebrated in the same context across the sub-continent. Aspects of Aryan culture have spread across the sub-continent by the introduction of Sanskrit (Vedic) civilization across the sub-continent albeit slowly over the last 3 thousand years. Thus you might see some aspects of this “bon-fire“, which is reflected in other parts of the sub-continent. However, you will not find it in the same similarity of cultural celebration like dancing and singing around the “bon-fire” and the application of teal and seeds in celebration. You cannot find this similarity anywhere in the sub-continent but you will find it in the Iranic regions. Trying to use the concept of the movement of the sun to explain the “bon-fire” is ambitious but fails because it does not define the “bon-fire” festival in its entirety and the comparison is not valid. The Punjabis are using the calendar that is local and are celebrating their ancient cultural memory via the local Punjabi calendar. To define the movement of the sun, and then to explain it across so many different cultures in the sub-continent and to find something in common to justify an explanation is simply a huge stretch by Veer Karminder Singh Ji.

Regarding the Damdami Taksalis, they can only explain Lohree within the context of “Bipraan Ke Reet” in connection with the Dhru Prahlad story because that is the limit of their knowledge. Same is with Veer Karminder Singh Ji’s explanation because of the limitation of his understanding and he can only relate from within the context of “Vedic” traditions. Both Taksalis and Veer Karminder Singh Ji, have failed to recognize that the subcontinent and especially the north-western region where Punjab is, it has been within the cultural and religious sphere of the Iranics over many different time periods. The genetics of Punjab show this anomaly, and only within Punjab region the mitochondrial DNA reflects about 45% West Eurasian genes. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to child and a father cannot pass it on. Majority of the sub-continent’s Mitochondrial DNA is indigenous with the exception of the Punjab which has a large percentage of Western Eurasian genes. Does this not show that Punjab culturally and genetically is distinct from rest of the sub-continent? Even the traditional clothes reflect this influence.

Nowruz “bon-fire” festival as a cultural item has not been erased from Iran, the mullahs of Iran have tried to stop its celebration but have not succeeded. Even the Taliban are hard-pressed to stop Nowruz in their areas. These “bon-fires” cultural festivals are a part of the cultural memory of Western-Eurasia and of the Indo-Iranians specifically.

Aspects of this cultural memory can even be seen during midsummer in Scandinavia and the Baltics, where it is celebrated with bonfires. Within the Punjab, the regional variation of this “bon-fire” festival came within the cultural ambit and overlapping of the Vedic tradition. Hence there are regional variations in the celebration of this festival from the Balkans to the Punjab. Every year, at the end of January, Zoroastrians celebrate the religious feast of Jashn-e Sadeh by creating bon-fires and singing and dancing around it. To signify the coming of spring and as a symbolic token of the eternal fight with darkness. The Persians sing; “(Sorkhi-e to az man) Give me your beautiful red color, (Zardi-e man az to) take back my sickly pallor!” The Iranics sing with words “take my paleness and tiredness, and give me your strength (health)”. In Punjabi it is; “Diledeer Jaah, Eesar Aah, Dileder Dee Jarr, Chullae Paah”. There are regional variations from the Balkans to the Punjab / Kashmir region. The Kurds celebrate the “Churshama Kulla” which is the tradition where people jump over the fire and dance around it when they are happy and in celebratory mood. This bon-fire ritual was recently celebrated at the liberation of Kobani from the Islamic State. Always the same theme of bon-fires and celebrating and dancing around it to celebrate the rebirth in nature across all the areas where the Indo-Iranics live, irrespective of religions.

Our ancestors moved into the sub-continent from Central Asia and brought their culture with them. Lohree reflects this cultural memory and so do Punjabi costumes and genetics. You may call this the Jespal thesis on Lohree.

 

The author, Jespal Singh Brar, is a Managing Partner in a technology consulting company located in the Silicon Valley, US. 

 

EARLIER ARTICLES ON LOHREE:

Kee Lohraa Aa Gya by Karminder Singh – ASIA SAMACHAR (13 Jan 2015)

Lohree, Birthdays, Culture and New Year by Karminder Singh- ASIA SAMACHAR (21 Jan 2015)

Karminder's earlier article on Lohree in Asia Samachar
Karminder’s earlier article on Lohree in Asia Samachar

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. Go to www.asiasamachar.com]

8 COMMENTS

  1. A kind suggestion to Mr kumar Singh Ji to re-read the article he is quoting on “similarity to 72%”. The 72% method of comparing in that study was discounted. Humans and chimps are close to 98% in genetic material. Regardiing your question “But that’s still higher than 45%”. You are comparing apples to oranges my friend. You are not even speaking about the same thing. What 45% is based on haplotypes of the population of Punjab. From a sample population the mitochondrial DNA is tested. Human populations that left Africa diverged into two large groups M & N. Those of M are largely “Asian” and those of “N” group are largely non-Asian. N can then be further divided. Regarding the thesis from Balkan to Punjab it is because the root is the same and this is borne by genetics and linguistics. I did write about other cultures because they are not related and do not share common origins. Simple as that. So your attempt to associate all the cultures is a stretch my good fellow.

  2. The most wise thing has been said by Veer Jarnail Singh Dhillon Arshi Ji. “Too heavy dependence on “culture” leads to spiritual degradation”. He summed it up so well, I cannot but have to agree. I never saw it in this fashion, my argument has always been that culture and religion are separate. But religion is supreme! Excellent Veer Jarnail Singh Ji for bringing clarity. Although I celebrate Lohri for it’s cultural aspect and a connection to the past but I also cannot overlook the rich spiritual tradition of Sikhs and you have provided great material with information such as “GHORRHIAHN that REPLACE the Cultural ghorrian sung at weddings”……thanks for sharing.

  3. Mankind across cultures has worshipped the planets (sun especially) and the elements (fire in particular) ever since the advent of animist beliefs. The basis for such worship is fear of the unknown.

    The UN recognises 5,000 plus cultures, so there must be at least that many versions of rituals involving the sun and fire such as Lohree.

    Punjab didn’t need to learn how to light a bon fire and hang around it from the Aryans or anybody else. To say such is to suggest that Punjabis learnt how to milk cows from the Afghans and how to boil milk from the Moguls.

    The Jaspal thesis provides five versions of Lohree – Balkan, Persian, Zoroastrian, Punjabi and Scandinavian. I hope we will be spared a bunkum of a thesis about the remaining 4,995 versions and their names.

    The issue is what different civilizations have done with such animist beliefs with the advent of modern religion. Some simply continue with the worship of the sun and fire (various tribes). Others have retained it as part of their continuous religious rituals (Hindus with their sun and fire gods). Others have rebranded it (celebration of birth of boys, bravery of Dulla, harvest festival etc). Others have secularized it completely (westerners burning bon fires on the beach while emptying cans of beer).

    The Sikhs discarded it altogether from the moment Guru Nanak declared Bheiy Vich Suraj (sun) Bheiy Vich Chand….. and Bheiy Vich Agan (fire) Kadeh Vegar. Guru Nanak told his Sikhs to worship the Creator, not creation and to free themselves from the fears that planets and elements had an influence on their lives.

    Therefore, the only sentence that is of relevance to the issue of Sikhs celebrating Lohree in the Jaspal thesis is sentence number 20 that reads “neither is it a Sikh festival.”

    The Jaspal thesis states that Punjabi genes are 45% of West Eurasian genes. A 1975 paper by geneticists Mary-Claire King and A. C. Wilson declared that human and chimpanzee genes were 98 % similar. Subsequent studies using better technologies such as one in 2014 by Dr. Jay L. Wile have reduced the similarity to 72%. But that’s still higher than 45%.
    So which of these genetic similarities should we Punjabis be proud of?

    What may be worth knowing is “How many percent of Guru Nanak’s Sikhi “genes” do we Punjabis have?

  4. SSA.
    Vasakhi used to be a cultural event….and this is now a religious/spiritual event due to the fact that the Birth of Guru nanak Ji the Founder of Sikhism and The Revelation of the Khalsa by Tenth Nanak Guru Gobind Singh ji in 1699 coincide with Vasakhi.
    Holi was another cultural event which was given a spiritual twist and Khalsii Raang by replacing it with Holla Mahalla.
    Diwali was a holiday and major event – this golden opportunity was used by Guru Amardass ji for holding Sarbatt Khalsa ( Sangat Ikhatth) which was carried on till Bhai Mani Singh Jis shaheedee.
    The Allahhnniah, Ghorrhihn, SADD…were specially penned by Guru ji to give a spiritual colouring to the normally occuring events in our households..weddings, deaths, etc etc.
    This is proof of the fact that the GURUS were aware of our cultural needs and what we need to do as a society..but since the aim of Gurmatt is to towards the Mann/Spiritual realm..the worldly/cultural were replaced by the spiritual. We should pay more attention to the way the GURUS taught us rather than go our own way MANMATT.
    Too heavy dependance on “culture” leads to spiritual degradation like alcohholism, drugs, wayward behaviour with the opposite sex, wild dancing,bhngras,as we are seeing more and more in punjabi weddings, braat parties janj shootings and all that.so much Dikhawa, over spending to keep up with the Dhillons and the Grewals…all this is harming us via the cultural road….because we leave the spiritual highway and side step.. JSArshi-Gyani Selayang Baru

  5. SSA.
    Its well known fact that many Christians lament that the “Holy” in Christmas has gone for good…this day is so commercialized and corrupted its no more Holy..just a holiday….Only someone who has opened his eyes when visiting Fategarh Sahib during the Sirhind season..when the Shaheedee Diharra of The Chotteh Sahibzadehs is celebrated..would know how gross the entire thing has become..its more of a Mela with bhnagras and giddhas, various menu driven langgars, loud music and all..same for Maghi which is supposed to celebrate the shaheedees of the 40 mukteh. The Sikh nation is celebrating less and less Gurpurabs and more and more “holidays”….more and more dead Baba barsees , mahan Sant Samagams, melas processions in which the SGGS used to be the Main Attraction in the main Palki….but now being increasingly replaced in the Palki by pictures of dead Babas..all heavily commerciliased goluck bharo sessions, collect as much goluck as possible and make merry. Even Punjabi Khalsa Schools are emphasing on Giddha and Boliyan as “Teaching Aids” in the education sector of Maa Boli…this is exactly what the likes of Honey Singh and all say when they sing..Laak 21 kurree daa weight 48..or Aakh bachakeh mapiahn ton Aaja kurreyeh yaar tera udeekdah thamm olleh .and this is called Maa Boli dee SEWA…So Maa Boli dee sewa via such songs has now seeped into the Primary Schools of the Khalsa where the children are supposed to be taught to emulate Baba Zorawar Singh Ji and baba fateh Singh Ji..or plant the seeds of Japji Sahib and Asa dee Vaar.
    Lohrree as Veer Jespal Singh has researched is rooted in the Tribal Culture of the Scythian Jatt culture of yore…but in the present Sikh context it has absolutley no value. If these had any value the Gurus would have celebrated them and we would have directions in the Gurbani and Rehat. Guru Ji has given us directions on how and which Holi to celebrate, how and which Vasakhi, to celebrate…I realise we have culture and its impossible to break away from it but we should not be led so far astray that religion is left gasping for air which is all used up by the fire being burnt in a Gurdwara Car Park in height of Malaysian Summer no less pretending its winter and heat is needed for the participants. Anyone who has read tyhe SGGS would know that the GURUS realised the “need” for all that “so called culture” that we cry out for..the wailing and the crying at a death, the dancing and prancing at weddings.. and simialr customs we see as “culture”….and thus the GURU took the time to write down for us….GHORRHIAHN that REPLACE the Cultural ghorrian sung at weddings…..the Guru gave us ALLAHHNNIAHN..that replace the ususal wailing and crying at funerals…in fact GURU SAHIB in their infinite wisdom have given us a Healthy Viable RELIGIOUS ALTERNATIVE to the so called “Culture” we crave for !!! Why would a person calling himself a SIKH..use the GURDWARA of the GURU..to satisfy his craving for “culture” and IGNORE what the GURU has written down for his SIKHS to balance and eliminate this craving. Just my 2 cents on the subject. JSArshi Gyani Selayang Baru

  6. ਵੀਰ ਜੀ, ਇਹ ਤਿਉਹਾਰ ਹੁਣ ਕਰਪੱਟ ਹੋ ਚੁਕਿਆ ਹੈ। ਪੂਜਾ, ਵਿਉਪਾਰ, ਸਰਾਬ, ਗਾਨਾ, ਅਤੇ ਬਜਾਉਣਾ ਦਾ ਤਿਉਹਾਰ ਬਣ ਕੇ ਰਹਿ ਗਿਆ ਹੈ।

    ਪੰਜਾਬ ਵਿਚ ਤਾ ਚਲੋ ਕੁਝ ਸਮਝਦਾਰ ਠੰਡ ਦੇ ਕਾਰਨ ਸਦਕਾ ਅੱਗ ਬਾਲ ਲੈਂਦੇ ਹਨ ਪਰ ਮਲੈਸ਼ਿਆ ਵਿਚ ਗੁਰਦੁਆਰਿਆ ‘ਚ ਮਨਾਉਣ ਦਾ ਓਹੀ ਕਾਰਨ ਰਹਿ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ ਜੋ ਤੁਸੀਂ ਆਪ ਦਸੀ ਜਾਂਦੇ ਹੋ।

    ਤਿਉਹਾਰ ਸਾਂਝਾ ਹੈ ਪਰ ਬਹੁਮਤ (ਹਿੰਦੂ ਰੀਤ-ਰੀਵਾਜ਼ਾ) ਦੇ ਅਸਰ ਹੈਠਾ ਆ ਚੁਕਿਆ ਹੈ। ਚਲੋ ਜਿਹ ਪੰਜਾਬ ਦਾ ਗੁਰਸਿੱਖ ਲੋਹੜੀ ਵੀ ਮਨਾਉਨਾ ਪਹਿ ਗਿਆ ਤੇ ਕਿਸ ਤਰਾ ਦੇ ਕਿਰਤਨ ਕਰੇਗਾ, (ਜਿਹ) ਇਕਠ ਸੰਗਤ ਕਿਸ ਵਿਸੇ ਤੇ ਵਿਚ ਵਿਚਾਰ ਕਰਨਾ ਪਸੰਦ ਕਰੂੰਗੀ, ਜਾ ਵਧ ਤੋ ਵਧ ਗਿਧਾ-ਭੰਗੜਾ ਹੀ ਪਾਉਗੇ। ਪਰ ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ਦੀਆ ਜਿਆਦਾ ਬੋਲੀਆ ਸਰੀਰ ਅਤੇ ਰਿਸਤੇ ਨੂੰ ਹੀ ਸੰਬੋਧਿਤ ਹੋਂਦਿਆ ਹਨ ।

    ਉਪਰੋਕਤ ਆਪਸ਼ਨਾ ਵਿਚੋ ਤਾ ਇਕ ਸਿੱਖ ਕਦੇ ਵੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਰਾਜੀ ਹੋਵੇਗਾ। ਫੇਰ ਲੋਹੀੜੇ ਦੇ ਇਤਿਹਾਸਿਕ ਵਿਸਿਆ ਤੇ ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਜੋਰ ਕਿਉ ਲਾ ਰਹੇ ਹੋ ਜੀ।
    ਜੇ ਤੁਸੀ ਪੰਜਾਬ (ਜਿਵੇ ਚੰਡੀਗੜ ਸਹਿਰ) ਵਿਚ ਰਹੇ ਹੋ ਤਾ ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਪਤਾ ਹੋਵੇਗਾ (ਜਾ ਨਹੀਂ),
    1. ਲੋਹੜੀ ਦੇ ਦਿਨ ਸਿਖਾਂ ਦੇ ਘਰ ਬਹੁਤ ਸਰਾਬ ਚਲਦੀ ਹੈ,
    2. ਸਾਮ ਪੈਂਦੇ ਹੀ ਲੋਕੀ ਰੋਲਾ ਪਾ ਦੇਂਦੇ, ਆਜੋ ਮਥਾ ਟੇਕ ਲਵੋ, ਲੋਹੜੀ ਬਲਣ ਵਾਲੀ ਹੈ,
    3. ਤਿਲ ਸੁਟਨੇ,
    4. ਅੱਗ ਦਿਆ ਪਰੀਕਰਮਾ ਕਰਨੀ,
    5. ਫੇਰ ਡੈਕ ਲਗਣਾ, ਭੰਗੜਾ-ਗਿਧਾ ਪਾਉਣ,
    6. ਨਾਚ ਦੇ ਦੋਰਾਨ ਸਰਾਬੀ ਕੁੜੀਆ ਨੂੰ ਛੇੜਦੇ,
    7. ਫੇਰ ਪੰਗ, ਗਾਲੀ-ਗਲੋਚ
    8. ਤੇ ਲੋਹੜੀ ਸਮਾਪਤ।

    ਲੋਹੜੀ ਨੂੰ ਪਵੀਤਰ ਦਾ ਨਾਮ ਦੇ ਕੇ ਜਨਾ-ਖਣਾ ਘਰ-2 ਪੈਸੈ ਮੰਗਣ ਆ ਜਾਂਦਾ ਹੈ। ਜਿਨੀ ਲੜਾਈ ਲੋਹੜੀ ਨੂੰ ਹੋਂਦੀ ਹੈ ਉਨੀ ਕਦੇ ਹੋਲੀ ਵਿਚ ਚੀ ਨਹੀਂ ਹੋਂਦੀ। ਤੁਸੀ ਜੋ ਮਰਜੀ ਲੋਹੜੀ ਦਾ ਇਤਿਹਾਸ ਸੱਪ ਵਾਂਗੂ ਕਢੀ ਜਾਉ, ਪੰਜਾਬੀਆ ਵਿਚ ਲੋਹੜੀ ਦਾ ਮਤਲਬ ਓਹੀ ਹੈ ਜੋ ਤੁਸੀ ਦਸਿਆ ਹੈ।

    ਮੇਰੇ ਖਿਆਲ ਨਾਲ ਡਾ. ਕਰਮੀਂਦਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਇਕ ਆਮ ਸਿੱਖ ਵਾਂਗ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਲੋਹੜੀ ਵਰਗੇ, ਫਜੂਲ ਖਰਚੀ ਵਾਲੇ, ਫਜੂਲ ਇਕਕਰਤਾ ਵਾਲੇ, ਲੜਾਇਆ-ਚਗੜੇ ਵਾਲੇ, ਪਾਖੰਡੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਤਿਉਹਾਰ ਤੋ ਬਚਾਉਣ ਦਾ ਉਪਰਾਲਾ ਹੀ ਕਰ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ।

    ਸਾਡੇ ਅੱਜ ਦੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਬਹੁਤ ਵੇਹਲੇ ਹਨ ਅਤੇ ਪਿਛੜ ਗਏ ਹਨ। ਕੋਸੀਸ ਕਿਤੀ ਜਾਵੇ, ਬਜਾਏ ਇਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਵੇਫਜੁਲੀ ਤਿਉਹਾਰ ਤੇ ਜੋਰ ਦੇਣ ਨਾਲੇ ਚੰਗੇ-2 ਵਿਸ਼ਿਆ ਉਤੇ ਰਿਸਰਚ-ਪੜਤਾਲ ਕਿਤੀ ਜਾਵੇ। ਤਾਂਕੀ ਅਜ ਦਾ ਸਿੱਖ ਆਮ ਲੋਕਾ ਵਾਂਗ ਚੰਗੇ ਪਰੋਫੇਸ਼ਨਾ ‘ਚ ਆ ਸਕਣ। ਲੋਹੜੀ ਮਨਾਉਣਾ ਅਪਣੀ ਮਰਜ਼ੀ ਹੈ ਪਰ ਸਿੱਖਾ ਨੂੰ ਇਸ ਤੋ ਬਚਾਇਆ ਜਾਵੇ ਤਾ ਬਹਿਤਰ ਹੋਵੇਗਾ।
    ਧੰਨਵਾਦ ਸਹਿਤ।

  7. Excellent thesis, I can only wish more would think on the same track. This reminded me of the Puritans who rejected everything regarded as unholy. They failed to kill father Christmas so the absorbed it and claimed it as their own. Culture is beautiful, it makes sense to want to have a celebratory bon fire during a miserable winter. We have bon fires during camping too. All this religious interference is putting a stain on culture. Don’t celebrate it if you don’t want to but do not ridicule those who chose to. Before any dogmas, we are humans first. I think I can be friends with the author. 🙂

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