The festival of Lohri is Punjabis’ cultural celebration which marks the culmination of winter by worshiping fire. The festival is celebrated on Winter Solstice day. As it falls on the shortest day of the year, Lohri is celebrated by lighting fire and creating a bonfire to mark the onset of longer days. The day after Lohri is celebrated as ‘Maghi Sangrand’ as the coming days are meant to start getting longer. As the Punjabi Folk Religion worships natural elements, the main feature of Lohri is the bonfire which is dedicated as the end of winter season.
Lohri is also celebrated as the harvest festivals. The usual traditional time period to harvest sugarcane crops is January; sugarcane products such as jaggery and ‘gachak’ are central to Lohri celebrations. Another reason that the festival is important for Sikh folks is because Punjabi farmers consider the day after Lohri (Maghi) as the financial new year, which holds immense importance to the Sikh community.
As per the customs, teenaged children go from door to door singing and seeking the Lohri in the form of money and eatables like til (sesame) seeds, peanuts, jaggery, or sweets like gazzak, rewri, etc. The children also sing a song in praise of Dulha Bhatti.
In the evening the bonfire ritual includes lighting the bonfire after the sunset in the front yards of houses. People gather around the bonfire and circle around the bonfire throwing puffed rice and popcorn into the fire, chanting “Aadar aye dilather jaye” which means ‘May honor come and poverty vanish’.People of the Sikh community also sing popular folk songs. This particular ritual is a way of thanking the Sun God and seeking his continued protection. What follows is amidst drum beats men dancing to Bhangra tunes and women doing graceful Gidda. Apart from this, kite flying on Lohri is popular in Punjab. People get onto the roof tops and fly kites in zeal.
We at India.com wish you a very Happy Lohri to you and your family. May the Lohri fire burn all the moments of sadness and bring you warmth of joy, happiness and love.