Lohri, observed a day before Makar Sankranti, is the bonfire festival signifying the harvesting of winter crops. Lohri Festival 2016 date is January 14. It is observed mainly in Punjab, Haryana, parts of
other nearby regions. Lohdi Festival is basically an
agrarian festival dedicated to Agni or fire. Delhi
On the day of Lohri, people create huge bonfires in the harvested fields and in front of homes in the evening. People go around the bonfire and throw puffed rice, popcorn and other munchies. They ask Fire God Agni to banish poverty and usher in prosperity.
On the morning of Lohri children go around the neighborhood singing Lohri songs. They are given money, til (sesame), jaggery, peanuts and popcorn.
All homes are decorated on the day and people prepare and share makki ki roti (made of millet) and sarson ka saag (cooked mustard leaves).
On the day people eat and distribute Prasad made of til, gajak, jaggery, peanuts and popcorn.
The popular belief is that Til or Sesame helps in fighting the cold and various ailments that appear during the period.
There is great importance to Lohri song which is mainly based on nature, winter and on a folk hero Dulha Bhatti. It is said that Dulha Bhatti used to rob rich people and help the poor. He lived during the rule of Akbar. He also used to rescue girls and women taken away forcibly. He arranged for the marriage of such girls and women.
The festival is annually held on January 13 or 14.
It is interesting to note that a festival quite similar is held on the same day in
India, the Bhogi festival – in it too bonfires are lit.