Fire, Food & Fun! … Sounds like Lohri!

Fire, Food & Fun! … Sounds like Lohri!


Hello All!
I hope you’re keeping well and wrapping yourselves up warm in this cold weather!!
It feels like it’s been a while since I wrote a “proper” post!  I’m feeling super tired from this weekend’s shenanigans but wanted to put this together before my baby brain left me speechless!
So what exactly IS Lohri?! If you were to google “Lohri” (trust me, I’ve tried it!),  you’ll be given about a hundred different reasons as to why it’s celebrated. 
 

“OMG it’s Lohri!”
It came up in conversation with a friend, and in turn she asked her mother in law who kindly summarised it for us: it’s harvest time in Punjab and we all get together to celebrate the new things in our lives. It’s mostly celebrated by those who have newborn babies or those that are newly weds. Lohri is not a Sikh celebration but more a cultural one.

We all get together, eat food (the harvest crop is spinach, which makes saag) and light a bonfire. We then sing old Punjab folk songs and dance.  Basically a reason to have a party! 🙂

As Arjun marked our “new beginning”, this is how we celebrated. 
In the afternoon, we held a religious function at the Gurdwara (Sikh temple) where paat (prayers) was recited and kirtan (holy hymns) were sung.  Although Lohri is not a religious occasion, I use any opportunity to seek God’s blessings.

In the evening, we had a party in a marquee at home where our friends and family joined us to celebrate the birth of Arjun.  Here we lit a bonfire during the night, and people sang and danced around it.  The rest of the night was spent partying away to Bhangra and old Lohri songs played by the DJ 🙂  How did you celebrate yours?

So how exactly did we manage to plan the party with a baby? Not easily in short! Well not easily compared to how it was prior to having a baby but to be fair it wasn’t really that difficult. I tried to keep things as simple as possible (by my own standards which probably isn’t very simple at all!).
Before, I was the type of person that really didn’t like relying on others for help – I preferred to do things by myself.  When Arjun was born and because of the nature of my birth and the state I was in after, I quickly learnt that drawing upon your support network is not a bad thing. And that’s exactly what I do when I need to now. I did need a little help from others to plan for this party and I’m so grateful to have such a great support network.  I don’t really like to do things in halves either which doesn’t help!  
Organising in advance is definitely key!  I’m definitely a list orientated person (one of my many prominent traits!) and that’s just the way I manage to get things done! Thank God for excel (geeky accountant!) and for the notes section in my phone. I kept an extended to do list and also a few separate ones for the days leading up to the party so that I knew what needed to be done and when.
I asked my parents to babysit a few times especially when I had to visit the dress shop in Southall to get my outfit fitted (a few trips!).  Although I could have taken Arjun with me, I do find it quite tedious lugging him and his bags around (he’s a hefty 18lbs now!) especially when in a rush.  When time is of the essence, I find it easier to leave Arjun with either set of grandparents to get things done quicker.
Arjun’s grandmummies did the cooking and the food was absolutely delicious. I left the kitchen side of things to both our mum’s and tried my hardest not to get involved (I’m a control freak!).  We are truly blessed to have such amazing mothers/grandmothers who go over and beyond for us.
I decided to put together the centre pieces whilst Arjun played with his toys next to me as I knew he’d find the popping bright colours mesmerizing and he did!  I tried to involve Arjun in as much of the planning as I could to make my own life easier and to let him have a bit of fun too!
 
As always, my sisters were on hand to help with last minute bits – although not so much with the direct party planning, the night before they were at our house to take care of Arjun whilst I finished off some last minute preparations.
The night before preps were all getting a little too much for Arjun!
 
The week before I realised I’d completely forgotten to get any drinks (definitely baby brain!) so to save myself the hassle of having to go out to get them, I ordered them online and they were delivered the next day 🙂
To save myself having to traipse around the shops looking for decorations etc, I heavily relied on online shopping as you can see below.  The only real con of this is not being able to see before you buy.  But pictures online are pretty accurate. It saved me a lot of time and hassle especially with a baby! I was also able to compare prices and designs.
The day before the party, Preetam had taken the day off to help with last minute bits such as shifting heavy items for me.  As we were both in the marquee finishing bits off, we decided to wrap Arjun up in his snow suit and take him out with us in his little car. We whizzed him around and got him involved – for example I hung the table diamonds in a bag to his car and took him with me to each table to scatter them.  We made it fun 🙂
Man on a mission
 
I ensured Arjun’s bags were packed the night before for the temple and for the party so that I didn’t have to faff in the morning.  His outfits as well as ours were all ironed well in advance. Arjun wore jeans and a shirt for the religious function and an indian sherwani for the party.
Us ready for the Gurdwara
  

Arjun with his big sis at the Gurdwara
Family picture of us in the evening
We hired waitresses on the night to serve and replenish the food and to manage things in general.  They also ensured that a lot of the clearing up was done on the night.
So with a few highlights of how I managed to put things together, what theme did I go for? I always love planning decor for events.  As Lohri is associated with bright colours, I went for a colourful theme in the marquee.
We had colourful roof draping with a star cloth over the dance floor and fairy lights on the fence feature which the marquee company arranged.
I went for colourful centrepieces using aqua beads which are not only cheap and cheerful but also so effective in achieving popping colours.  These can be purchased from most party shops and online – the cocktail glasses required two packets each to fill and the fish bowls required four.  I purchased mine from eBay at £0.99 for two packets (Aqua Beads). 
I also used bright artificial silk flowers for the centre pieces which I purchased from Whittington’s online previously (Silk Artificial Flowers).

I used table diamonds on the tables to bring out some colour and these were purchased from eBay at £1.55 a packet, I only used a quarter of each packet so have lots left for the next function too (Table Diamonds) .

The gold runners were purchased from eBay for £24,99 for 10.  (Gold Organza Table Runners).
 
I also purchased colourful napkins to add to the pops of colour, again purchased from eBay at £2.29 for a pack of 50 (Napkins).

 

Arjun’s colourful personalised decoration that we’d made last week was put up near the entrance.  

I set up a kids play area which included a large wipe down mat, a ball pit and a few large toys.  Given it was a party to celebrate the birth of a baby, it was only fair to ensure all the little ones were catered for! All the babies enjoyed the toy area and it’ll definitely be making an appearance at all future parties! – That means a slightly larger marquee and a slightly larger budget especially as Mr’s social circle increases – he’s a social butterfly!

We had a Lohri cake (as we need any excuse for cake!) – Arjun was more interested in demolishing it!

Arjun with mummy, daddy and his grandparents x
 

The food was all vegetarian as we are vegetarian and there was no alcohol.  The menu included samosas and dokra (Indian savoury cake) for starters with Danish pastries and tea.  We had saag (spinach) and makki di roti which is traditionally what is cooked at Lohri and also paneer (Indian cheese) and dhal (lentils).  For dessert we had kheer (rice pudding) which is another traditional Lohri dish.  We also had out some baby snacks to cater for the little ones 🙂

We don’t have meat or alcohol at our functions as we are vegetarian and tee total for religious reasons and to be honest, most of our parties are pretty crazy without (our friends and family know how to have a good time!). I often wonder what would happen in the presence of alcohol!!  

There was lots of dancing to Bhangra music (thanks Mr DJ Bob Motion Music) and we also had a little zumba session (thanks Rasna!) which Arjun’s grandmummies and aunties absolutely loved!

 

Arjun loved all the attention – he’s generally a people person (like his mummy!). He had a great play session with his buddies and also had a little boogie (defo doesn’t take after his daddy who doesn’t go anywhere near a dancefloor!).  He loved working the camera; he definitely isn’t camera shy! He wasn’t at all phased by the bonfire which I was surprised about! The cutest was when he fell asleep on his daddy’s shoulder as soon as we’d finished cutting the cake – great timing Arj!

Arjun & his buddy E having a boogie x
 
Oh the excitement!

E having fun in the ball pit – the yellow balls were her favourite!

The gorgeous twins keeping themselves entertained! 🙂

B having fun in the ball pit 🙂

 

 

The babies sharing toys x
 
It was our first time hosting a party since Arjun’s birth and wow I didn’t really think about how I took the smallest for granted before Arjun came along and how now those felt like quite a challenge – for example needing to run in and out of the house to drop the centre pieces from inside to the marquee! I didn’t want to leave Arjun inside the house alone. But somehow, we managed to pull it off! I found the experience so rewarding and often mothers lose their identity – we become just “mums” – it was nice to be able to express myself in another way that I love – through organising events! I did whatever I could to ensure my life was made as easy as possible as highlighted above so that I could also enjoy the planning and the day. 
It was a tiring day and a tiring build up – we went to bed at 3am forgetting that there is no such thing as a lie in anymore!  But somehow we managed to find the energy on Sunday to crack on!
 
It was a great day and we are so grateful for how blessed we are – people made such an effort, we couldn’t have asked for anything more! Thank you to all those that made the effort to be a part of it. Can’t wait for Arjun to be old enough to watch the footage back! – now for planning Arjun’s first birthday! 🙂
 

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