Why do we celebrate the festival of Lohri?

Every year, each of us, on January 13th, celebrate the festival of Lohri; in which we are accustomed to throw peanuts, gajjaks, popcorn and other items into a blazing fire. It is said that we throw in all these things because we are actually disposing off all our bad habits, wrong behavior and unpleasant human nature into the fire and burning them to ashes so that we start a brand new, positive year, with new beliefs. But, do you actually know the reason why it started and why it is so widespread today?

Lohri, the popular winter Punjabi folk festival, is celebrated primarily by Sikhs and Hindus from the Punjab region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. Many people believe the festival commemorates the passing of the winter solstice. It is observed the night before Makar Sankranti, also known as Maghi, and according to the solar part of the lunisolar Bikrami calendar it typically falls about the same date every year (January 13). It is actually a festival celebrated at the end of the winter season since it celebrates the beginning of the cropping season. It is also a fond remembrance of the Sun deity, Surya Dev. 

It is enthusiastically celebrated with songs and dances, trick or treating with each other, eating delicious sweets and celebrating the New Year. Lohri songs mention Surya, asking for heat and thanking him for his return. Other legends explain the celebration as a folk reverence for fire (agni) or the goddess of Lohri. During the day, children also go from door to door singing folk songs. These children are given sweets and savories, and occasionally, money. Turning them back empty-handed is regarded inauspicious. Where families are welcoming newly-weds and newborns, the requests for treats increases. 

The food items primarily included in the festivities are gurh, gajjak, peanuts, popcorn, mustard greens, sesame seeds, rice, rewari etc. Here is a picture of solidified and unrefined sugarcane juice, known as “gurh”, which would make your mouth water 🙂

Lohri is celebrated with a bonfire. The lighting of bonfire during this winter festival is also an ancient tradition, where people traditionally get rid of all negativities.

Did Nostradamus predict the Coronavirus Pandemic?

There have been many scholars and astrologers in our past who’ve accurately predicted most of the happenings in our present and those in recent history. But the most acclaimed astrologer of them all, recognised for his efforts since the 16th century, has always been Nostradamus. Now before we delve into the important, irresistible question at hand, let me give you a brief introduction about the widely appreciated astrologer.

Who was Nostradamus?

‘Michel de Nostredame’, now Latinised as Nostradamus, was a French apothecary (allegedly a doctor), physician and an astrologer. He was born in December of 1503, in a town named Provence. He is a popular  ‘seer’ who wrote collections of prophecies that have since become famous around the world. His best-known book was called Les Propheties (The Prophecies) that first appeared in 1555. Over the years, many people have come to believe that Nostradamus predicted a range of events in history, even those which transpired nearly 500 years after his death.  He is believed to have died of a disease known as “oedema” in July 1566.

What were some of his prophecies and did they come true?

Nostradamus is credited with predicting the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the French Revolution in 1789. He also predicted the rise of Napoleon and the wrath of Adolph Hitler during WW2. Explained below are some examples:

“From the deepest part of Western Europe

A young child will be born to poor people

Who will by his speech seduce a great multitude,

His reputation will increase in the Kingdom of the East”

Beasts ferocious with hunger will cross the rivers,

The greater part of the battlefield will be against Hister.

Into a cage of iron will the great one be drawn,

When the child of Germany observes nothing.” 

While the first quatrain refers to the early life of Hister (Hitler) who was born to poor parents, the second quatrain explains how his army (beasts ferocious) would travel through rivers conquering many countries and sparing no one. 

He is also said to have predicted the assassination of President John. F Kennedy (during the day) in 1963. 

“The ancient work will be accomplished,

And from the roof evil ruin will fall on the great man:

They will accuse an innocent, being dead, of the deed:

The guilty one is hidden in the misty copse.

The great man will be struck down in the day by a thunderbolt,

The evil deed predicted by the bearer of a petition:

According to the prediction another falls at night,

Conflict in Reims, London, and pestilence in Tuscany.”

(References) Here is a link you can click on to find out about his other predictions: https://www.crystalinks.com/quatrainsinterpretations.html

This is when we, at last, come to the most imperative question at hand:

Did Nostradamus predict the COVID-19 outbreak?

The answer to the above question is more or less debatable. Some say that Nostradamus predicted the COVID-19 pandemic nearly 500 years ago. 

He writes: 

“There will be a twin year (2020) from which will arise a queen (Corona) who will come from the east (China) and who will spread a plague (virus) in the darkness of night, on a country with 7 hills (Italy) and will transform the twilight of men into dust (death), to destroy and ruin the world. It will be the end of the world economy as you know it.” 

Another one of his prophecies suggest that he might have known about the existence of this virus:

“The great plague of the maritime city. 

Will not cease until there be avenged the death. 

Of the just blood,

 condemned for a price without crime.” 

Although the origin of the Virus, Wuhan (China),  is not a “maritime city,” the disease was traced to a seafood market, which they believe is enough to prove a link. “Price without crime” can also refer to the current deteriorating condition of the World Economy due to the virus. 

So, the findings that I have presented before suggest that traces of COVID-19 were predicted by some of our great scholars more than 500 years ago! Not only that, but they also predicted the time and region in which it would occur! Isn’t that mind-boggling?  Why don’t you go online and try predicting something out yourself?

Social Media: a boon or bane?

I wonder how a phone was made,

I wonder how Social Media came,

I wonder when people got so hooked on to it,

I wonder if their lives are the still the same.

I go to the park everyday,

But am no longer astonished to find,

That couch potatoes don’t play at all,

But prefer to get easily blind!

It’s weird how Fortnite just took the applause,

And left the good books to cry,

coz’ today the world is so virtual or online,

and people get depressed and die.

Victims of dreadful, cyberbullying

Are so easily tormented by jerks,

And believe so naivly in whatever they say,

that in their mind this fear lurks.

“Am I not good enough?”, and “How am I looking?”

These are the two main questions today,

C’mon guys! Believe in yourself,

Are you really afraid to have your OWN say?

And then come these stupid abbreviations,

FOMO and JOMO the devils itself,

That we love whatever is there for others,

And forget to appreciate ourself.

Cracking relationships and anger on loved ones,

Is all because of this,

We waste so much of our precious time everyday,

That’s why so much in life we miss!

So, as a well-wisher,

I urge all of you,

Please moderate your usage of social media,

And tell others too.

I promise this will change your life,

And make you feel cheerful once more,

You will start living in the present moment,

And not let virtuality take o’er.

Thank you for reading this poem,

And please share it with your family and friends,

Let’s create a REAL world once more,

And set new, original trends.

~ Aria Saxena

Substance Abuse: A trend in moody teenagers

Have you ever experienced mood swings? Or have you ever heard the word “depression”? Well, I’m sure you have, because these are words we usually associate with sadness. But, have you ever wondered what depression actually means? Let me make the task slightly simpler for you. It means “a feeling of severe despondency and dejection”. You might have heard or read about stories of people who are survivors of depression and anxiety attacks in newspapers, magazines, or even on vlogs. What is the age of these people? 20, 25 or even 17? You’ll be shocked to know, that the average age of people who are witnessing depression lies in your age bracket: the age of the ‘teens’.

What’s the major cause of this? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6 in 10 substance abusers also have a mental disorder. For both teens and adults, drug addiction and depression are a common and dangerous combination. Depression can arise from a blend of biological, genetic, psychological and environmental factors. Addiction has similar roots, so it’s unsurprising that the two frequently co-occur. Especially for adolescents, this can prove to be a deadly combination: causing delayed puberty and/or negative effects on the reproductive system, lower bone mineral density, growth stunting, HIV, hepatitis, cancer etc. Depression, as I mentioned earlier, is also a form of a psychological disorder in children.

But, even after knowing the effects of such terrible substance abuses, why then, do teens still partake such activities? Well, unfortunately, schools have become a predominant playing ground for those indulging in such activities. A survey from the Centre of Addiction found that 60% or more of teens attend “drug infected” high schools, meaning a place where drugs are used, kept, or sold right on school grounds. Even more scary, is that almost all high school students report that they know of classmates who drink, smoke or use drugs even during school hours.

Any way out of this? Well, luckily there are quite a few! Drug abuse prevention in the household starts from the parents! Parents are the strongest influence that children have. There is no guarantee that your child won’t use drugs, but drug use is much less likely to happen if you:

  • Provide guidance and clear rules about not using drugs.
  • Spend time with your child.
  • Do not use tobacco, alcohol or other drugs yourself.

Educating teens on the effects of drug abuse is important as it attempts to control possible drug use before the age of maturity. There are presently various educational programs in place for this very reason, including: Universal, selective and indicative.

Most importantly, consult a doctor! If you are feeling uncomfortable, or are constantly waiting for a drug to be on your side, please do not hesitate to visit a therapist or a doctor for further guidance. Believe me, help is always around. You just have to look for it J. Also start campaigns or blog channels to spread awareness on such issues, even if you aren’t a victim . Establish helplines for children in need, and always be on the look-out for those undergoing mental health issues.

I would like to rest my case on the back of a quote, by an anonymous author, “ It’s not the drugs that make a drug addict. It’s the need to escape reality.”

Thank you!

Nuclear weapons- Is it all worth it?

I truly believe that nuclear bombs are one of the worst inventions man could create. They are created with the purpose of destruction. Nuclear arms proliferation was accelerated during the cold war between Russia and America. Both the countries wanted to prove that they had more power than the other, even though they had no need for it, but just to balance each other out as so called super powers. What I feel, is that every human being has the right to live. Nobody can take ‘life’ away from you, as you or me were not the ones to bless them with it. Nuclear weapons just destroy the human race, which is not right. Why can’t everybody just live in harmony together and respect each other’s differences? Nuclear weapons just create hate against people and cause fatal diseases. One such example is the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attack which is notoriously known all over the world. This happened when America dropped an atomic bomb on these two neighbouring cities situated in Japan during WWII in 1945. The disaster caused people to just vaporise in seconds! It took countless lives and injured even more due to radiation borne diseases. Generations were genetically destroyed. Believe me, the effect is still in the air, after all these years. Till now, incurable genetic reactions take place, cursing the future generations in Japan. People face lung cancer, some were born deaf, and some have lost their precious eye sights as well. If one asks the present, innocent citizens of America about this brutal act done by their government in the past, their response is “We couldn’t believe what happened in the past. Even though we weren’t a part of it, we feel equally guilty. The thought that our ancestors have permanently destroyed a Japanese generation is nerve-wrecking.”

What I want everyone to know, is that we should abolish the use of nuclear weapons throughout the world. It is just a waste of our hard-earned money which the governments use to create these weapons. I know that the normal citizens of any country are not a part of it, but indirectly, we all are the ones who are paying for manufacturing these weapons. I recently finished going through a chapter on nuclear weapons in school. I could not comprehend the reason as to why they were created in the first place. I feel pretty disgusted when I hear about the uncountable deaths due to nuclear blasts in the past. Speaking of this, I think that we, the noble children, are the future generation that is going to now take over the world. Our ancestors have just not thought about the difference between right and wrong. Now, it is our rightful duty to save the world, and rid it from the nuclear mess we find each country trying to develop. So, dear friends of mine who are reading this blog right now, please help save the world. I hope you will inculcate values of peace and harmony in people around you. Let’s stop all war and make the world a better place for not only us but also the future generations to come.

Thank you for reading. Until next time…

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