Lohri Festival, About Lohri Tradition, Rituals & Legends

Lohri Festival

Lohri Festival, About Lohri Tradition, Rituals & Legends

Lohri Festival

Like most other festivals in India, Lohri is also related to the agricultural activities of the farmers. It marks the harvesting season in Punjab and the end of the winter season. Lohri usually falls on the last day of the month of Paush, a day known as Makar Sankranti in most parts of the country. According to the English calendar, Lohri falls on 13th January every year.

  • Preparation to celebrate Lohri begins way before the actual festival day. Right through the winter days, village women and children collect dry twigs and branches to make a huge bonfire on the day of Lohri-the bigger the better.

  • On the day of the festival, with the setting of the sun, the bonfire is lit with people singing and dancing to the tune of Lohri songs.

  • The munching of seasonal goodies like popcorn, reori, peanuts and sugar cane forms an integral part of the celebration. Fistfuls of these goodies also find their way into the fire, as an offering to the Sun God, the giver of all life.

  • Interestingly, the next day of Lohri is known as Maghi, a day that signifies the beginning of the month of Magh.

  • According to common belief, this is an auspicious day to take holy dip and give away charity. Kheer is prepared in sugar cane juice to mark the day.

The First Lohri

Lohri, the bonfire harvest festival of Punjab celebrated in the month of Magh, is symbolic of new beginnings. The first time Lohris are especially celebrated with pomp and grandeur. Friends and relatives gather around the fire and perform Gidda and Bhangra to the beat of Dhol, the drums of Punjab.

The First Lohri of a Bride

First Lohri of a Bride

  • The celebration takes place in the in-law’s house with a grand feast for family and friends.
  • The bride dresses in traditional attire with solah sringar, 16 things that a bride generally wears.
  • The new bride and groom sit in a central place together as people approach them with wishes and gifts.
  • The parents-in-law present the bride with new clothes and jewellery.

The First Lohri of a New-born

  • The first Lohri of a new-born is of immense significance where the family and friends participate to bless the child with a prosperous and a healthy future.
  • Many conduct an elaborate get-together at the paternal home, where invitation cards are sent in advance.
  • Family and friends bring along gifts for the child as well as the new mother.
  • The maternal and paternal grandparents shower the child with gifts.

Lohri Rituals

Lohri Rituals

  • Lohri is primarily the harvest festival of the Punjabis.

  • This festival denotes the harvesting of the Rabi crops and hence all the farmers get together in order to thank god for giving them such a wonderful harvest.

  • The rituals related to Lohri symbolize the attachment of the people with Mother Nature. A few days before the festival, youngsters get together in groups and go round their localities singing folk songs.

  • Doing this they also collect firewood and money for the bonfire that is scheduled on the night of Lohri. On the special day, offerings of phulley (popcorn), moongphali (peanuts) and rewri (a sweet delicacy made out of jaggery and sesame seed) are offered to the fire

  • The men and women go round the fire and bow before it in reverence. Lohri holds special importance when there is a special occasion in the family like marriage or childbirth.

Lohri Traditions

Lohri Traditions

  • Lohri is primarily the harvest festival of the Punjabis. This festival denotes the harvesting of the Rabi crops and hence all the farmers get together in order to thank god for giving them such a wonderful harvest.

  • The rituals related to Lohri symbolize the attachment of the people with Mother Nature.

  • A few days before the festival, youngsters get together in groups and go round their localities singing folk songs.

  • Doing this they also collect firewood and money for the bonfire that is scheduled on the night of Lohri. On the special day, offerings of phulley (popcorn), moongphali (peanuts) and rewri (a sweet delicacy made out of jaggery and sesame seed) are offered to the fire.

  • The men and women go round the fire and bow before it in reverence. Lohri holds special importance when there is a special occasion in the family like marriage or childbirth.

Lohri Legends

  • Like all Indian festivals, Lohri also has some legends and lore attached to it.

  • One of the many interesting legends has it that in a place that lies between Gujaranwala and Sialkot, there was a thick forest known as Rakh.

  • The forest was the home of Dulla Bhatti, a dacoit who was considered as the Robin Hood of Punjab.

  • This brave and generous man was always helpful to the needy.

  • During the reign of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, a jealous Hindu spread a rumour that his niece was very beautiful and would do credit to the Muslim harem.

  • On hearing this, the Mughal officers wanted to carry her off forcibly. The girl’s father was extremely worried and sought the protection of Dulla Bhatti.

  • Dulla at once got her married to a young Hindu boy at a simple ceremony in the forest. He lit the sacred fire in keeping with the Hindu custom.

  • Since there was no priest to chant the holy mantras, he broke into a hilarious song composed extempore to add cheer to the occasion. This song is sung even today on the occasion.

Lohri Celebrations

Lohri Celebrations

The best way of celebrations in this chilly whether could be to sit around a bonfire and enjoy. Well, Lohri Celebrations would be the best festival to celebrate and spread the warmth of love and happiness among all your near and dear ones in this chilly weather. Lohri is majorly celebrated in Punjab and north Indian states on 13th January and is considered to be the harvesting festival of Punjab.

  • Lohri is not just a festival for people of Punjab but it is a symbol of life. Several hopes of farmers are associated with this festival of Lohri as the fields promise a golden yield to the farmers.

  • Newly wed couples and all those couples who have a newborn baby celebrate Lohri but nowadays it is seen that most of the people celebrate this festival of Lohri as an occasion of get together, to spend some time with their near and dear ones and enjoy the celebrations.
  • Children start collecting firewoods and wooden twigs one week before the festival that are used for burning Lohri .

  • On the Lohri day all the firewoods are arranged in a circular manner in such a way that it makes a huge bonfire.

  • Children visit each and every house of their locality inviting all he people for the Lohri celebrations and asking for their contributions. While visiting every house children sing a Lohri song, making everyone feel that the festival of Lohri is around the corner.

  • The traditional food cooked on the Lohri day is sarson ka saag and makki ki roti and rau di kheer is served as a dessert.
  • People dress themselves in new clothes and in the night they gather around the bonfire to light it. People pray in front of the burning bonfire and put til (gingelly), moongphali (peanuts), popcorns and chirwa (beaten rice) in it, as all these eatables are considered as the Lohri prasad.
  • People greet each other wishing a very happy Lohri and spread the feeling of love and happiness all around.

  • Traditional songs and famous dances, bhangra and gidda add to the celebrations to Lohri festival. When the bonfire is lit people start dancing and singing traditional lohri songs to create a perfect ambience of Lohri.

Lohri History

Lohri History

India is the “Land of Celebration and Festivities”. According to the Hindu mythology, there are 3.3 million gods and goddesses. Lohri is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated to honour Agni (the Vedic god of fire) at the beginning of the year. Every year, on 13th of January (as per the Gregorian calender), Lohri is celebrated with great pomp and grandeur mainly in Punjab, Haryana, parts of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu. Amidst the freezing temperature accompanied by dense fog and icy winds, North Indians seem to be getting busy with preparations for enjoying the long awaited bonfire festival “Lohri” with traditional folk songs and dances.

What is the history of Lohri?

Religious Fact: As per the Hindu calendar, in the mid-January, the earth starts its journey towards the sun bringing end to Paush, the coldest month of the year. According to the Shrimad Bhagawad Gita, Lord Krishna manifests his full divinity during the period of Lohri. A day later, the auspicious Makara Sankranthi helds which marks the end of the winter season. Thousands of Hindus bath in the Ganges to nullify their sins.

Social Fact: Wheat is the main winter crop in the northern parts of India. This winter (rabi) crop is sown in the months of October and harvested in March or April. Farmers and their families celebrate Lohri during January (rest period) before the cutting of crops. Thus, Punjabis and Haryanavis celebrate Lohri as the “harvest festival”. Most farmers from rural Punjab consider the day after Lohri as the starting of new financial year. The Sindhi community popularly call Lohri as “Lal loee”. On the festive day, children request their grandparents and aunties for wood sticks which are burnt in the bonfire.

How is Lohri celebrated?

Lohri Loot: On the morning of Lohri, enthusiastic children dressed in new clothes arrive at the neighbourhood doors singing praise songs on Dulha Bhatti (a legendary Punjabi rebellion alike Robin Hood who led protests against the powerful Mughal emperor Akbar) and asking for generous Lohri ‘loot’ in the form of money and delicacies such as sesame seeds (til) ladoos, peanuts, jaggery, and traditional sweetmeats like rewri, gajak etc.

Bonfire Ritual: Lohri marks the end of the chilly winter. In the evening, after the sunset, huge logs of woods are gathered and lit in the harvested fields. True-spirited, fun-loving men and women circle around the rising flames, do parikrama (rotate around the bonfire) thrice and toss puffed rice, peanuts, and sweets into the fire, uttering “Aadar aye dilather jaye (May prosperity arrive and poverty fade away!)”. After praying to the fire god (Agni), people meet their relatives and friends to exchange greetings and prasad (offerings made to the fire god). Hindus pour milk and water around the bonfire. This ritual is performed to honor the Sun God for his warm protection. Traditionally, the offering comprises of five main eateries: roasted sesame seeds, jaggery, gajak, popcorn, and peanuts. Then, sturdy, hearty men beat the dhol (traditional drum) announcing the starting of the festivity. Both energetic men and women dressed in colourful ethnic attire perform Giddha and Bhangra (popular folk dances) circling the bonfire.

Welcoming Party: Many wealthy families arrange for private Lohri celebrations in their houses. Several rituals are performed to rejoice the birth of a baby or arrival of a new bride.

Dining Feast: Lohri harvest ceremony ends with scrumptious dinner. After merry-making throughout the day, everyone looked forward to the traditional banquet comprising of makki di roti (hand rolled bread made of millet), sarson da saag (cooked mustard greens), and rau di kheer (dessert made of rice and sugarcane juice).

Facts on Lohri You Should Know

  • The festival of Lohri is best celebrated in the state of Punjab. According to Punjabi traditions the festival marks the beginning of the harvesting season at the end of winters. As traditionally January is the time period to harvest sugarcane crops

  • And that Punjabi farmers consider the day after Lohri as the financial New Year.

  • Lohri falls in the lunar month of Paush or Magh, a day before Makar Sankranti.

  • On the night of the festival family members, relatives and neighbors come together and perform bhangra and giddas around a bon fire

  • Sweets made from til (sesame seeds) and rorhi are traditionally consumed on this day. Perhaps the words til and rorhi merged to become tilorhi, which eventually got shortened to Lohri.

  • According to a legend Holika and Lohri were sisters. While the former perished in the Holi fire, the latter survived with Prahlad.

  • On the eve of Lohri the most popular songs sung by groups of boys and girls. It goes as:

  • Sunder mundriye ho!

    Tera kaun vicharaa ho!

    Dullah Bhatti walla ho!

    Dullhe di dhee vyayae ho!

    Ser shakkar payee ho!

    Kudi da laal pathaka ho!

    Kudi da saalu paata ho!

    Salu kaun samete!

    Chache choori kutti! zamidara lutti!

    Zamindaar sudhaye!

    Bade bhole aaye!

    Ek bhola reh gaya!

    Sipahee far ke lai gaya!

    Sipahee ne mari itt!

    Sanoo de de Lohri, te teri jeeve jodi!

    (Cry or howl!)

    Bhaanvey ro te bhaanvey pitt!

  • In the evening people gather around the bonfire and throw puffed rice and popcorn into the fire, chanting “aadar aye dilather jaye” which means ‘may honor come and poverty vanish’

  • The reason why folk songs are sung on Lohri is to thank the Sun God and to seek his continued protection for the coming year

  • Apart from dancing and Gidda, kite flying on Lohri is also very popular.

Lohri Recipes

On the Lohri day delicious food is cooked that includes the traditional Lohri food sarson ka saag and makki ki roti in the main course and rau di kheer along with several other dishes as the desserts.

For all those who have some spare time can utilize their time to cook some homemade Lohri food items by following the Lohri Recipes that will be a helping hand for them to cook delicious Lohri food.

Some of the famous Lohri Recipes are given below, that will surely help you to prepare delicious Lohri food.

Ganee Ki Kheer

Ganee Ki Kheer

  • 1 liter Sugarcane juice
  • 100g of Basmati rice
  • Cardamom Powder
  • Cut Dry Fruits


  1. Wash the rice and soak it in water.
  2. Put 1 liter of sugarcane juice in a pan and bring to boil.
  3. Now add the soaked rice and cardamom to the sugarcane juice and let it cook on a slow fire.
  4. Keep on stirring.
  5. Cook till the rice and sugarcane juice form a smooth mixture.
  6. Remove it from the flame and allow it to cool before serving.

Atta Ladoo

Atta Ladoo

  • 250 gms of flour
  • 200 gms of Jaggery
  • 30 gms of vanaspati or ghee.
  • Dry Fruits


  1. Add a spoon of ghee in a pan and put flour in it.
  2. Roast the flour till light brown and remove from the flame.
  3. Add jaggery powder to the roasted flour.
  4. Add dry furits.
  5. Mix the above mixture and let it cool.
  6. Form small balls and your laddoos are ready.

Dry Fruit Chikki

Dry Fruit Chikki

  • 1 cup of Chopped badam
  • 1 cup of chopped pista
  • 1 cup of chopped cashew
  • ¼ cup of jaggery
  • Some soaked kesar in milk
  • 2 big spoons of ghee


  1. Grind jaggery.
  2. Take a pan and heat 2 big spoons of ghee in it.
  3. Put grinded jaggery and mix it well, making it a fine paste.
  4. Now add badam, kesar, pista and cashew nuts and blend them until the mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan.
  5. Take it off from the flame.
  6. Spread small amount of ghee in a tray and put the above dry fruit mixture in an evenly manner.
  7. Let the mixture cooland cut it into pieces.

Kurmure Laddoo

Kurmure Laddoo

  • 1/2 cup dry coconut flakes
  • 6 pieces of chhoti elaichi, powdered
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 250gm parmal rise, cooked
  • 250gm gur
  • 250ml water


  1. Boil gur in water to form a thick syrup.
  2. Add roasted peanuts, rice, cardamom powder and dry coconut flakes. Stir.
  3. Allow the mixture to cool.
  4. Smear your palms with ghee to roll out balls.

Lohri Gift Ideas

Punjab, Lohri, the bonfire festival of harvest in mid-January, in the month of Magh.Like every festival in India, Lohri is also characterised by exchange of gifts between family and friends. Here at www.dgreetings.com we have a few choice ideas of some fabulous gifts that can be presented to your loved ones.

For Babies

For Babies

Blankets and dresses of the famed Phulkari design of Punjab is a perfect gift for the occasion.

A feeding set complete with a plate, glass and spoon, all in silver can be gifted to new born babies.

Embroidered and handmade photo frames which will help the couple cherish the growing years of the child.

For Newly Weds

Gifts for Newly Weds

Newlyweds setting up homes will welcome gifts of handicrafts like wall hangings, crystal vases, artistic showpieces, and German Silver photo frames.

The lady can also be gifted fashion accessory like satin pouches embellished with beads. You can make it a couple gift by adding a good quality leather wallet for the spouse.

Jewellery is considered to be the traditional gift of Lohri. Within family newlyweds do get gifted diamond and gold jewellery, but you can also give costume jewellery complete with semi precious stones and which come in artistic and innovative styles.Handcrafted wooden and white metal jewellery boxes also make a perfect gift.

The new bride and the groom can be given new clothes. Choose from the ethnic array of suit pieces available for women with designs like phulkari. The new groom can be gifted with a shirt hamper.

No matter what gift you are presenting the new couple, do not forget to team it with a box of sweets like rewri and gajak.

General Gifts


Sweeten the life of your near and dear friends with sweet hampers. You can go in for the same kind of sweet or a variety of them in a singular decorated box. Rewri and Gajak are of course the favourites of the season.

You can also gift dry fruit hampers in decorative boxes or satin bags.

Artistic Puja Thalis in brass and silver can be gifted. Thalis are also available in terracotta which is very ethnic.

Catch up with the times and present your oved ones with electronic gadgets like state of art ear phones, i-pods etc.

Fresh flowers arrangements can never go out of fashion. Present your loved ones with an Orchids bouquet.

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