When is Lohri?
The Lohri festival takes place each year on, or close to, January 13th. It is celebrated in Northern India and marks the end of winter when the sun changes its course.
Lohri is associated with the Vikrami calendar and marks the end of winter, and is a traditional welcome of longer days. It is observed the night before Maghi, also known as Makar Sankranti.
It is a state holiday in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu and Kashmir. Even though the festival is celebrated in Delhi and Haryana, there is no gazetted holiday on Lohri in these states.
Traditions of Lohri
Lohri is one of the most important festivals in India. The day is observed with great fervour and joy and is primarily observed in the Punjab region.
The day is also considered as a harvest festival and is celebrated a day before the festival of Makar Sankranti. It marks the end of the winter solstice and harvesting of the rabi crops.
The ancient significance of the festival is considered to be a winter crop season celebration and also the remembrance of the sun god.
In houses that have recently had a marriage or a new baby, Lohri celebrations are more fervent, due to the festival's association with fertility. Most North Indians usually have private Lohri celebrations, and Lohri songs are played accompanied with dancing.
To mark the Lohri, people get dressed in colourful clothes. The day is usually celebrated with the ancient tradition of lighting bonfires. families will gather to sing, dance and share winter snacks like rewaris, chikkis and til laddoos to celebrate the day.
People wear bright clothes and do the bhangra and gidda around the bonfires apart from several other rituals to mark the festival. Dhols and other musical instruments are also played. Traditional sarson da saag and makke di roti is usually served as food at a Lohri dinner.
In Punjab, Lohri is marked by eating sheaves of roasted corn from the new harvest. The January sugarcane harvest is celebrated in the festival. Sugarcane products such as jaggery and gachak are central to Lohri celebrations, as are nuts.
Gifts are also exchanged in the festival which is always full of rejoicing and music.
People will wish each other a happy Lohri on the auspicious occasion to celebrate the day.