Punjab: Lohri is a prominent festival of Punjabis and Sindhi community observed in a major portion of North India.
This agricultural winter festival celebrated throughout Punjab in parts of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu.
Many people believe that Lohri began as a celebration of the evening of the winter solstice. The Punjabis instead of celebrating Lohri on the eve of winter solstice, celebrate the festival on the last day of the month during which winter solstice takes place, Paush.
As Lohri was celebrated on this eve, people believe that the night on this day is the longest night of the year and on the day after this festival, day light is meant to increase.
The festival is traditionally associated with the harvest of the rabi crops and to express their gratitude to Sun and fire God for a good harvest people take peanuts, rewri, flour, butter and various other food items.
This day is very important especially for the farmers as they see the day after Lohri as the financial New Year.
Dulla Bhatti, who lived in Punjab during the reign of Emperor Akbar the great, is the main character of most Lohri songs. He was said to be a hero in Punjab because he rescued Hindu girls from being forcibly taken to be sold in a slave market of the Middle East and also arranged their marriages. Hence every other Lohri song has words to thanks to Dulla Bhatti.
Lohri has been linked with the Hindu winter solstice festival of Makar Sankranti, which relates to the Sun's entry into the new sign, Makar.
On this day eating til and reodi, is considered to be essential. During this day kids go from door to door singing folk songs and were given sweets, savouries and occasionally money. The collections gathered by the children are known as Lohri.
The Lohri fire differs from place to place because in some places Lohri goddess is made with cattle dung decorating it, kindling a fire beneath it and chanting its praises whereas in other parts the fire consist of cow dung and wood with no reference to Lohri goddess.
Houses that recently have weddings or childbirth, Lohri has been celebrated with full enthusiasm and reaches a higher pitch of excitement.
We wish all a very happy Lohri.