Come the month of January and the whole of Punjab gears up to celebrate the Lohri festival. It is one of the most joyful occasions for Punjab.
Though there are different stories about the origin of Lohri, it has generally been accepted that the occasion has always been celebrated as a harvest festival. Coming at the end of the winter season, it make the last of the month Paush, and beginning of the month Magha(January 12/13 as per Gregorian calendar). It is during this time that the farm fielids gleam the wheat, the primary north India crop.
Lohri is essentially a festival dedicated to fire and the sun god. The celebration of Lohri marks the time when the sun shines from “Uttrarayan”, meaning it passes across maker(the Zodiac sign Capricorn) and move northwards. This alternation of the sun’s position lessens the severity of the winter season and the earth receives warmth bringing comfort to her inhabitants. Lohri Celebrates this impending comfort and sees nightlong festivities that has people lighting bonfires to combat the chilly weather, and singing and dancing around it in a festive mood. The fire also symbolized the sun and is seen as a source of energy and spiritual strength. It is worshipped as a deity with food-offerings consisting of peanuts, popcorn and sweets made of til-chirva, gajak and revri.
The festival is also celebrated in many other states of India, albeit under different names. In Bengals the occasions is observed as “Makar Sankranti” as “Magha Bihu” in Assam and as “Tai Pongal” in Kerala. A similar celebration of the annual harvest, Pongal, occurs in Tamil Nadu.