The story of Lohri celebration started somewhere back during the Indus Valley Civilization. In different parts of India people have different stories of Lohri celebration but basically it is celebrated as a festival of harvest! Lohri celebrates the zeal of welcoming spring and bidding warm farewell to the winter season. The whole family gather together on the evening of Lohri and lit Bonfires and sing & dance around the fire in enthusiasm. This is basically a celebration of the state of Punjab; nevertheless people from Haryana, Himachal and Delhi also celebrate this festival with utmost joy.
In different parts of India, this festival is celebrated with different name: whereas in North-India it is called as Lohri, in Tamil-Nadu it is celebrated with the name Pongal, in the state of Bengal it is called Makar Sankranti, in Assam it is called Magha Bihu and is called Tai Pongal in Kerala. Various interesting stories are associated with Lohri, read through the article to know the history of the festival:
The story of Lohri is associated with a Rajput tribe known as Bhatti who was there during the reign of Akbar in the parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab. It is said that the king Dulla Bhatia, the king of Pindi Bhattian revolted against the Mughal king. Consequently the Mughal king sentenced Dulla Bhatia to death. The Mirasis tribe, who are known to be street singers, trace the history of Lohri. The Mirasis tribe also say that one of their scions was Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Dulla Bhatia was said to be the favourite of the poor as he used to invade the rich and help the downtrodden. People also know him as the Punjabi version of Robin Hood who was loved by the tribal people for his acts of generosity. A story is known that, once he rescued a girl from kidnapper and adopted her. Every year on the occasion of lohri he is remembered for his great work. Children sing songs of Dulla Bhatti and move from door to door. The song which is sung by the children mean that on the marriage of his daughter Dulla gave her a packet of Sugar.
Lohri is the time when people show their gratification to God Sun and fire, by offering Puja. During this time, the sun start moving from the zodiac sign Capricorn towards the North which people refer to as sun going into the Uttarayan, an astrological term. It is believed that from this day the ferocity if the winter decreases and warmness starts coming to earth. The biting cold of the month of January is warded off by lighting bonfire.
The fire is associated with the celebration of Lohri to enhance health and life and it acts as an emblem of regeneration and transformation. Fire symbolises Sun, creating a feeling of light at one hand and gold on the other side. People believe that fire has the potency to bring life to the cornfield and is a symbolic of the well being of animals and the mankind. People treat fire as their deity and is venerated and sanctified because fire is considered as a symbol of spiritual strength and energy. People eat and distribute chirva, popcorn, peanuts, gajak, sweets and ladoo on this day!