Here we share some facts about Lohri you might not have known.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Historically, the revenue for winter crops used to be collected on Lohri. This custom is still given importance in the Sikh community.
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.