Lohri is celebrated to mark the harvesting of the rabi crop in northern India, including Punjab, parts of Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. This festival is a well-known festival which signifies the winter season and the beginning of spring.
In 2024, the auspicious festival of Lohri will be celebrated on Saturday, January 13. At the same time, the festival marks the commencement of the new year, which is celebrated prominently by Hindus and Sikhs across the globe. Lohri is majorly celebrated among Hindu and Sikh people. On this occasion, people congregate around the bonfire and offer prayers and food to Agni Dev.
The word Lohri is derived from the word 'loh', which means 'tawa', a cooking utensil used for making rotis and chapatis. On this propitious occasion, a 'Lohri Thal' is prepared, which is beautifully decorated and filled with puffed rice, popcorn, rewdi, gajak and other delicacies, which are usually prepared in sesame seeds.
Lohri is a harvest festival that commemorates the end of the sowing season for rabi crops. On this day, people worship Agni (fire) and Surya Dev (the sun god) to invoke their blessings for a prosperous harvest. Wheat is considered the primary crop of Punjab, which is sown in October after the rains.
This is the reason why Lohri is an important festival for farmers, as they fervently pray for a fruitful and lucrative harvest. Also, Lohri is a festival to welcome the long days and the sun's journey to the northern hemisphere.
According to history, during the 16th century, the time of Mughal Emperor Akbar, a man used to live in Punjab named Dulla Bhatti. He was a dacoit who used to rob the rich and help the needy and poor people. Once, he single-handedly rescued two girls named Sundari and Mundari from the clutches of kidnappers and took care of them like a daughter.
He later got her married and also performed all the rituals in the priest's absence. After this bravery, people started considering him a courageous, mighty, fearless person. Since then, Lohri has been celebrated to remember Dulla Bhatti and his exploits, Sundari and Mundari. Apart from love and respect, people also dedicate a folk song called "Sunder Mundariye" on every Lohri in honour of Dulla Bhatti.
Lohri holds a special significance in the heart of Hindus and is considered an auspicious occasion for all people from different regions. This festival is celebrated every year to pay tribute to the farmers.
At the same time, Sikhs organise fairs to mark the martyrdom of Chali Mukte (forty free or immortal) and also offer prayers or Sikh ardas to them. Lohri is a unifying occasion that fosters togetherness, spreads joy, and rejoices in the bountiful harvest season.
The festival marks the worship of the Sun and the Goddess of Lohri. After the celebration of Lohri, farmers start harvesting crops while reciting some holy mantras seeking warmth on cold winter days. This festival is also very important for the new bride and the newborn baby in the family. Lohri marks the culmination of the winter solstice and the sun's northward movement. Basically, the festival welcomes warmer days.
The preparation for Lohri commences 10-15 days prior to the festival. On the day of Lohri, bonfires are lit in the harvested fields and outside the house, where people perform parikrama (circumambulating the fire) around the bonfire.
Peanuts, gajak, puffed rice, popcorn and Rewari are offered to Agni Dev (fire god) and distributed among the people as prasad. Fire is the focal point of this festival as well as provides warmth in the cold season. Cultural programs, such as singing traditional Lohri songs, dancing and interacting, are also organised.
To mark the celebration of Lohri, both men and women wear new traditional clothes and perform Jhoomar, Bhangra, Kikli and Giddha. Small children are dressed in beautiful garments, go door-to-door singing Lohri songs, and are offered sweets and candies.
A special dish called 'Til rice’, made from jaggery, rice and sesame, is prepared where it is a tradition to eat it in Lohri. Various delicious dishes are also prepared on this occasion, like Sarso Da Saag and Makke Di Roti, along with Gud, Til ki Barfi or Panjri, etc. Lassi, an essential beverage, is also served with a festive feast.
Lohri is the first festival of the new year and a popular harvest festival celebrated with great enthusiasm and zeal in northern India. Lohri is one of the significant Hindu festivals known by different names like Lohadi or Lal Lol. The festival marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of longer days.
This is all about Lohri. We wish you a very happy Lohri. If you have any queries or thoughts, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We appreciate our reader's valuable comments.