The festival of Lohri is being celebrated all over the country with traditional fervour and gaiety on Saturday. Traditionally, Lohri festival celebrates the onset of the harvest season in Punjab and is celebrate to offer thanks to God for the crops before they begin harvesting them.
It is also believed that Lohri night is the longest night of the year and according to the Lunar calendar, marks the winter solstice.
The festival also marks the end of the coldest month of the year as the earth now starts to turn towards the sun.
Lohri celebrates the harvest of rabi crops, those which are sown in the winter. It thus follows that winter foods like sarson (mustard leaves), sesame, whole wheat and spinach are an integral part of the festival.
‘Dholis’ present at several gatherings is another sight rendering traditional Punjabi touch to the celebrations as people enjoyed ‘Bhangra’ dancing.
Bonfires, an important part of Lohri festivities, will be lit as several families will dance to the tunes of famous festival songs like ‘Sundariye Mundariye Ho’, among others.
As part of the festivities, dinner is served after the bonfire ritual.
Til (sesame) and rorhi (jaggery) are eaten as traditional festive foods. The words til and rorhi together make ‘tilorhi’, which eventually got rechristened to Lohri, it is believed.
According to folklore, the flames of the fire are known to carry messages to the sun which is why the day after Lohri is warm and sunny bringing an end to “gloomy” winter days.
The following day is celebrated as ‘Makar Sankranti’ to mark the beginning of bright days ahead.