Punjabi Song for the Winter Festival Lohri

LohriLohri is a Winter Bonfire Festival that’s celebrated in Punjab, a region of Pakistan and India in January. At night, people sing Punjabi songs and throw popcorn and other offerings on the fire.

One aspect of Lohri is the tale of Dulla Bhatti. Bhatti is a Robinhood type figure from the 16th century who robbed from the rich and gave to the less fortunate. Some say the custom of children going door-to-door for treats for Lohri is in honor of Dulla Bhatti giving to the poor.

According to legend, Dulla Bhatti also saved Punjabi girls from being sold on the slave market. He helped arrange marriages for them and provided their dowries. Two girls he helped were Sunder and Munder. They became part of the folklore.

One version of the story, is that Dulla adopted one of the girls and as her father gave her away as a bride. In Hindi weddings, the bride and groom walk around a fire making offerings, while blessings are chanted to them by a priest. But there was no priest nearby.  Dulla Bhatti didn’t know the blessings, so he made up the song below (called Sunder Mundriye) and chanted it to the couple. One theory is that’s why the custom of singing this song around the bonfire while making offerings is part of the Lohri Festival.

You can hear the song in the video below.  After that you’ll find the pronunciation and an English translation followed by the Punjabi text…

The chorus “ho!” is sung at the end of every line.

Song Pronunciation:

Sunder mundriye – ho!
Tera kaun vicharaa – ho!
Dullah Bhatti walla – ho!
Dullhe di dhee vyayae – ho!
Ser shakkar payee – ho!
Kudi da laal pathaka – ho!
Kudi da saalu paata – ho!
Salu kauna samete – ho!
Chache choori kutti – ho!
Zamindara lutti – ho!
Zamindara sudhaye – ho!
Bade bhole aaye – ho!
Eka bhola reha gaya
Sipahee pakad ke lai gaya – ho!
Sipahee ne mari ita
Phaanvey ro te phaanvey pita – ho!
Sanoo de de Lohri, te teri jeeve jori!

English Translation

Pretty girl! Ho!
Who will take care of you? Ho!
Dulla Bhatti will! Ho!
Dulla’s daughter got married – Ho!
He gave her one kilo of sugar! Ho!
The girl is wearing a red wedding suit! Ho!
But her shawl is torn! Ho!
Who will stitch her shawl? Ho!
The uncle made choori* – Ho!
The landlords plundered it – Ho!
The landlords are beaten up! Ho!
Lots of innocent boys came, Ho!
One innocent boy got left behind
The soldiers caught him! Ho!
The soldier hit him with a brick!
Now you may cry or howl!
Give us Lohri and may you live long as a couple**! Ho!

*A Punjabi dish
**Said to a married couple

Sometimes the last two lines are reversed.

Original Text:

ਸੁਨਦਰ ਮੁਨਦਰੀਏ …ਹੋ
ਤੇਰਾ ਕੋਨ ਵਿਚਾਰਾ …ਹੋ
ਦੁਲਾ ਭਠੀ ਵਾਲਾ … ਹੋ
ਦੁਲੇ ਨੇ ਧੀ ਵਿਹਾਇ …ਹੌ
ਸੇਰ ਸ਼ਕਰ ਪਾਏ …ਹੋ
ਕੁੜੀ ਦਾ ਲਾਲ ਪਟਾਖਾ ..ਹੋ
ਕੁੜੀ ਦਾ ਸਾਲੁ ਪਾਟਾ …ਹੋ
ਸਾਲੂ ਕੋਨ ਸਮੇਟੇ !
ਚਾਚੇ ਚੂਰੀ ਕੁੱਟਿ!
ਜ਼ਮਿਦਾਰਾ ਲੁੱਟਿ
ਜ਼ਮੀਨਦਾਰ ਸੁਧਾਏ
ਬਮ ਥਮ ਭੌਲੇ ਘਾਏ
ਇਕ ਭੋੱਲਾ ਰਹਿ ਗਿਆ
ਸਿਪਾਹਿ ਫੱੜਕੇ ਲੈ ਗਿਆ
ਸਿਪਾਹਿ ਨੇ ਮਾਰੀ ਇੰਟ
ਸਾੱਨੁ ਦੇਦੇ ਲੋਹੜੀ , ਤੇ ਤੇਰੀ ਜੀਵੇ ਜੋੜੀ

Happy Lohri!

Mama Lisa

Image: “Lohri” by Stuti, cc.

This article was posted on Tuesday, January 12th, 2016 at 5:32 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, India, Lohri (Winter Festival), Lohri Songs, Pakistan, Winter Solstice, YouTube. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Punjabi Song for the Winter Festival Lohri”

  1. Lohri – A Punjabi Bonfire Festival in India & Pakistan Says:

    […] At sunset, a bonfire is lit. People throw sesame seeds, popcorn and candy on the fire and sing songs. You can learn a Lohri song here. […]

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