New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The harvest festival of India or Lohri is celebrated on January 13, that is a night before Makar Sankranti. The festival is celebrated with a lot of zeal and enthusiasm across the country especially by the Hindus and Sikhs. Popular beliefs say that the festival is celebrated to mark the end of peak winter. Lohri, however, is also associated with the harvest of the rabi crops. It also coincides with the festival of Bhogali Bihu of Assam and Pongal which is celebrated by Tamilians. During the time of Lohri, the sun starts moving towards the northern hemisphere marking the auspicious period of Uttarayan.

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History and Significance:

Lohri marks the beginning of the harvest season of Rabi crops in Punjab and the end of winter. People also celebrate Lohri to pay homage to the Surya (Sun God) for gracing all with his presence and for the bumper harvest.

They are legends about Lohri. One such legend is the story of Dulla Bhatti, who is considered to be the Robin Hood of Punjab, who the legends believe that rescued innocent girls from the clutches of lecherous men is enshrined in folk poetry that is sung during the winter festival of Lohri.

It is said that Bhatti rescued two Brahmin girls, Sundri and Mundri, from Akbar, who wanted them in his harem. He, then, married them and challenged the authority of the emperor.

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Some legends also believe that Lohri was Holika’s sister who, along with Bhakt Prahlad, survived the fire while some believe that the festival was named after Loi, the name of saint Kabir’s wife.

Celebrations:

The festival of Lohri is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm across the country especially in north-India. As per traditions, people lit a bonfire to celebrate this festival. People also celebrate sheaves of roasted corn in Lohri while gurh and gachak are central in the celebrations. It is traditional to eat Gajak, Sarson da saag, Makki ki roti, radish, ground nuts and jaggery. Apart from this, kite flying is also very popular on Lohri.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma