The festival of Lohri marks the advent of the harvest season in the country. Lohri commemorates the passing of winter and is thus celebrated on the shortest day of the year. There is a belief that Lohri represents the longest night of the year, and the day following it is called Maghi. It is celebrated to offer thanks for making a bounteous harvest possible.
What is Lohri?
Lohri celebrates the harvest of rabi crops, those which are sown in the winter. It thus follows that winter foods like sarson (mustard leaves), sesame, whole wheat and spinach are an integral part of the festival. As part of the festivities, dinner is served after the bonfire ritual.
How festival got its name
Til (sesame) and rorhi (jaggery) are eaten as traditional festive foods. The words til and rorhi together make ‘ tiLohri ‘, which eventually got rechristened to Lohri, it is believed.
Bonfires are an important part of Lohri festivities and people, along with families and friends dance to the tunes of famous festival songs like ‘Sundariye Mundariye Ho’, among others. Good portions of Rewri, Gajak and Peanuts are available and people enjoy these popular ‘Lohri’ items.
‘Dhols’ present at several gatherings is another sight rendering traditional Punjabi touch to the celebrations.
Traditionally, Lohri festival celebrates the onset of the harvest season in Punjab and is celebrate to offer thanks to God for the crops before they begin harvesting them. It is also believed that Lohri night is the longest night of the year and according to the Lunar calendar, marks the winter solstice.The festival also marks the end of the coldest month of the year as the earth now starts to turn towards the sun.
Why bonfires are lit on Lohri
According to folklore, the flames of the fire are known to carry messages to the sun which is why the day after Lohri is warm and sunny bringing an end to “gloomy” winter days. The following day is celebrated as ‘Makar Sankranti’ to mark the beginning of bright days ahead.