For people of Punjab, the festival of Lohri hold a great significance as it marks the harvesting season in Punjab and the end of the winter season. The main event is making of a huge bonfire which is symbolic of the homage to the Sun God for bringing in warmth. Celebrated on 13 January every year, Lohri festivities are associated with the harvesting of the Rabi crops. There is a special significance attached to the celebration of Lohri as this day the sun enters the rashi (zodiac) of Makara (Capricorn), is is considered auspicious as it signifies afresh start.
Lohri has a special significance for the agriculturists because it marks the beginning of a new financial year because on this day they settle the division of the products of the land between themselves and the tillers. Lohri assumes greater significance if there has been a happy event in the family such as the birth of a child or a marriage in the past year. The family then plays host to relations and friends and merry-making is the order of the day. Most people participate in dancing the bhangra (a folk dance) to the accompaniment of the dholak.
The festival of Lohri is linked to the atmospheric physical changes. Lohri celebrations generate a lot of bonhomie as people sit around the bonfire, talking, laughing, exchanging pleasantries, praying for prosperity, even as they make offerings of til (gingelly), moongphali (peanuts) and chirwa (beaten rice) to the burning embers. All these accounts and references point to the significance of saluting the Sun. The Sun is a symbol of plenty; it gives us all we need. Fire sanctifies our endeavor for a good life on the one hand and destroys evil spirits on the other.