Lohri is celebrated on the 13th day of January in the month of Paush or Magh. The history of Lohri, a seasonal festival of North India is as old as that of story of Indus Valley civilization itself.Lohri marks the culmination of winter, a day before Makar Sankranti. In the North Makar Sankranti is called Lohri. Lohri is the time after which the biting cold of the winters begins to taper off.
For Punjabis, this is more than just a festival, it is also an example of a way of life. Lohri celebrates fertility and the spark of life. People gather round the bonfires, throw sweets, puffed rice and popcorn into the flames, sing popular songs and exchange greetings. Lohri is more of a community festival as people gather around the bonfires and offer sweets, crisp rice and popcorn to the flames.
An extremely auspicious day, Lohri marks the sun’s entry in to the ‘Makar Rashi’ northern hemisphere. Lohri is essentially a festival dedicated to fire and the sun god. It is the time when the sun transits the zodiac sign MakarCapricorn, and moves towards the north the period, beginning from 14 January lasting till 14 July, is known as Uttarayan. It is also the last day of the month of Maargazhi, the ninth month of the lunar calendar.The Bhagawad Gita deems it an extremely sacred and auspicious time, when Lord Krishna manifests himself most tangibly. Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Bihu in Assam, Bhogi in Andhra Pradesh and the Sankranti in Karnataka, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh
There are some interesting socio-cultural and folk-legends connected with Lohri. According to the cultural history of Punjab, Bhatti, a Rajput tribe during the reign of Akbar, inhabited parts of Rajasthan, Punjab, and Gujarat. Dulla Bhatti, Raja of Pindi Bhattian, was put to death by the Mughal king for revolting against him. The focus of Lohri is on the bonfire. The traditional dinner with makki ki roti and sarson ka saag is quintessential. The prasad comprises of five main things: til, gazak, gur, moongphali, phuliya and popcorn. There is puja, involving parikrama around the fire and distribution of prasad.
This symbolises a prayer to Agni, the spark of life, for abundant crops and prosperity. The first Lohri of a bride is extremely important. The first Lohri of a newborn baby, whether a girl or a boy, is also equally important.