7 interesting facts you must know about Lohri

7 interesting facts you must know about Lohri

It’s a new year and now that January is almost half over, Lohri is close by. There is an excitement in the air as there has been little cause to celebrate in the past year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But with a vaccine out now in 2022, everyone is starting to feel hopeful and joyous again. This year Lohri is on Thursday, January 13, 2022.

People are preparing for the festivities earnestly. Lohri can be celebrated in a large way with the whole community or it can be done in a small scale, with one’s family or household. Considering the risk of spreading Coronavirus, this year the latter is advisable.

Here we share some facts about Lohri you might not have known.

1. It is a harvest festival

Though those who live in rural areas of north India and those who work in agricultural fields would already know this, but those in Southern India and those who live in Urban areas might be unaware of the significance. The winter crop (traditionally Rabi) is harvested in the days up to Lohri and then on the festival day all those involved in the labour gather around big bonfires and socialise and celebrate the harvest.

2. It is a Hindu religious festival

It’s hard to say if it started out as a religious festival or an agricultural one but in Hinduism, it is believed to celebrate the Goddess Lohri and the God Agni. But, Lohri is celebrated by farmers of other religions too.

3. It is a solstice festival

Many religions worldwide have a winter solstice festival such as Christmas or Yuletide. Lohri is the Indian equivalent, though it takes place later due to seasonal differences in the place of origin.

4. It marks the end of winter

Lohri is said to be on the last truly cold day of the season, after which every day will get longer and warmer easing into Spring. It is not to be confused with Holi, which marks the end of Spring and beginning of Summer or Basant Panchmi which marks the beginning of Spring.

5. It is the longest night of the year

Lohri has the shortest day and longest night, after which every day will get longer. It’s no wonder then that all the festivities for Lohri take place after the Sun has set.

6. It marks a new financial year

Historically, the revenue for winter crops used to be collected on Lohri. This custom is still given importance in the Sikh community.

7. It is named after…

The name of the festival has many variations and possible origins. It is said to be the name of the Goddess Lohri, the sister of Holika, who is celebrated on Holi.

Meanwhile, in Punjab it is called Lohi. Lohi was the wife of Sant Kabir, an important figure in the Sikh religion.

From a less religious and more linguistic perspective, it has been said that since the consumption of til (sesame seeds) and rorhi (jaggery) is traditional at the festival, it could be that the words til and rorhi merged to become tilorhi, which eventually got abbreviated to Lohri over the years. The word Lohri is also said to have its origins in the regional word ‘loh’ refers to the warmth and light of fire.

Here’s wishing a very Happy Lohri to our readers!