Lohri, a lively winter celebration deeply ingrained in Dogra and Punjabi folk traditions, is predominantly observed in the northern Indian states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Haryana. Jammu city in the J&K Union Territory and Delhi also participate in the festivities with great enthusiasm.
This vibrant occasion serves as a unifying event, bringing together people from various religious backgrounds, including Sikhs, Hindus, and others. It symbolizes the commencement of a new harvest season, coinciding with the Earth’s closest point to the sun.
In 2024, Lohri falls on January 14, according to the Gregorian calendar, aligning with the Paush month of the lunisolar Bikrami calendar or the Hindu solar calendar.
Historically, in Punjab and Haryana, Lohri festivities commence when the primary winter crop, wheat, begins to ripen. The celebration, marking the passage of the winter solstice and the anticipation of spring, involves communal gatherings around bonfires. Lohri also holds significance as the sun enters the zodiac of Makara (Capricorn) on this day, symbolizing a fresh start. Legend attributes the festival to ‘Dulla Bhatti,’ a local hero during Emperor Akbar’s reign, known as the ‘Robin Hood’ of Punjab, who rescued young girls from slavery and facilitated their marriages with dowries.
The folk song “Sunder Mundriye” is closely associated with Lohri, expressing deep-rooted folklore and celebrating the heroic deeds of ‘Dulla Bhatti.’ The festival is dedicated to the sun deity, Surya, symbolizing the return of warmth and sunshine after the winter season.
Lohri is celebrated annually with a traditional bonfire, prayers for a bountiful harvest, and offerings of peanuts, ‘gur ki rewari,’ and ‘makhana’ to appease the fire deity. Dancing around the bonfire and singing folk songs are integral components of the celebration.
Wishing you joy and excitement on this Lohri! May the warmth of loved ones fuel your brightest moments, and may this festival bring unforgettable celebrations with family, friends, and relatives. Happy Lohri!