People of India celebrate this festival of Harvest with utmost zeal. Thought, it is celebrate in many part of the country however it is the key festival of Punjabis. People from some North Eastern states of India like Himachal Pradesh and Haryana also observe the festival of Lohri. Among all the festivals observed in the state of Punjab, Lohri is among the one which is celebrated with splendour and refulgence. From the day of Lohri, the son starts moving towards North called as Uttaryan and is believed to be an extraordinarily auspicious time of the year. The Festival is observed to celebrate the God of fire and the Sun.
Lohri is believed to be one such festival which has an old history. It is deemed to mark the arrival of the New Year and spring and relieves people by giving a warm bid to the chilly cold winter. In the whole year, the night of Lohri is believed to the longest one and after this day the nights start becoming shorter while nights become longer.
Dulha Batti, a Muslim burglar was the one in whose commemoration the festival of Lohri is observed. He lived during the rule of Akbar and it is believed that he was a great person. Though he has not chose the right profession yet his intentions were honest and he wanted and equal distribution of wealth between the affluent and the poor. He would rob from the rich and donate the looted wealth to the disadvantaged. Besides, he would also arranged marriage of girls who were forcefully taken away from their home, after setting them free. He would pay the dowries for the marriage of these girls. The people of Punjab respected him for his acts of kindness for the disadvantaged and the needy people. This is the reason on Lohri; people sing and dance on the tunes which are sung to show their gratitude to Dulha Batti.
There are many speculations on, from where did the name Lohri got originated? Many believe that it came from the word Loi. Loi was the wife of the great Saint Kabir. While some people believe that it came from the word Loh, an appliance used in community feasts for making chapattis. Some people also believe that it came from the name of the sister of Holika while some people say that the word Lohri emerged out by mixing the words til and rorhi.
Most of the festivals in India are celebrated with friends, family and relatives and so is Lohri. People on this day gather at each other’s home and exchange gifts and sweets. This festival is particularly important for farmers as is considered as a harvest festival. Bonfire is lit on this day; people especially the ladies dance and sing around the fire. Rewaries, popcorn, gur, sesame seeds and sugar-candy etc. are thrown into the fire. People perform the folk dance of Punjab which is Bhangra and gidda and also wear vibrant and new clothes. Lohri also marks the beginning of New Financial year for farmers.