Lohri is a festival cherished and celebrated all across the country and overseas, especially in Punjab and Haryana, the festival is observed with great zeal and enthusiasm. The harvest festival is celebrated a day ahead of Makar Sankranti, with the setting of the sun on January 13.
The day is marked with dancing, singing and having traditional food. People come together and celebrate the festival by lighting Lohri (bonfire) outside their homes. It is believed that offering food items to the God of Fire on this day helps take away all negativity from life and brings in prosperity.
People light ‘Lohri’ in front of their houses and dance on the beats of groovy songs. Lohri is incomplete without the Tadka of Bhangra and Gidda. People decorate their houses, prepare and distribute sweets in their community which adds to the amazing ambience.
Lohri is also linked to the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and the longest night. Thus, the day marks the end of winters and strikes the onset of spring.
The festive marks the end of ‘Paush’ month and the beginning of ‘Magh’. Traditionally, people move around the Lohri (bonfire) while offering Til, Peanuts, Revari etc to the Fire God. The actions is believed of burning away all the troubles of the past and starting the new year with happiness. They chant “Aadar aye dilather jaye” i.e. “may honour come and poverty vanish” while moving around the fire.
For the newly-wed couples, Lohri has immense significance. It is believed that doing Parikrama around the fire on Lohri can strengthen the relationship. Lohri is also symbol of prosperity.
The heroic tale of ‘Dulla Bhatti’ is extremely popular and relevant in the Punjabi Folklore. Oral renditions suggest that during the reign of emperor Akbar, many women were abducted from Punjab and handed over to wealthy businessman and the filthy rich. Dulla Bhatti, also known as the ‘Robin Hood of Punjab’ rescued these helpless women and waged war against the Mughals.
On Lohri, the legendary ‘Dulla Bhatti’ is remembered and people pay tribute to him by singing folk songs describing the heroic tale of the man.