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Lohri is a Punjabi folk festival, celebrated primarily by Sikhs from the Punjab region. This festive is celebrated on January 13 every year in northern parts of India. According to Punjabi tradition, the festival marks the beginning of the harvesting season at the end of winters.

In the current scenario, the concept of Lohri is all about bonfire. This festival is traditionally associated with the harvest of Rabi crops and is considered as a new year for Punjabis.

On the eve of Lohri day, a huge bonfire is lit, and people gather and sing songs and dance around it. There is a tradition of throwing sesame seeds and popcorns into the fire walking around it.

To make this auspicious day more special, different types of dishes are prepared at home every year. Like Sarson Ka Saag and Makki Di Roti is a must-have on this day. Many other dishes like Gur Ki Rooti, Til Ki Barfee, Gur Ka Halwa are prepared.

It is believed that Lohri night is the coolest night of the winters as it is the longest night of the year and ironically it is also the shortest day of the year too!

Old Tale

There is an old tradition which many people don’t know about it called 'Dulla Bhatti' is also the central character in most Lohri songs.

Basically Dulla Bhatti is believed to be a story of Muslim highway robber who lived in Punjab during the period of Akbar. Besides robbing the rich, he also rescued Hindu girls who were being forcibly taken to be sold as slaves in the market.

Eventually, Dulla Bhatti fix their marriages to Hindu boys and even provided them with dowries. Due to these actions he became popular amongst Punjabis for being their Robin Hood.


Lohri derived from the word ‘Tilohri’, ‘til’ means sesame and ‘rorhi’ means jaggery. Gradually, the festival was just referred to as Lohri.

Significance of Bonfire

You may wonder why the act of feeding food to the holy fire assumes and make great impact on Lohri? The bonfire symbolises Lord Agni, God of Fire. That’s why people offer several kinds of food items to the fire to seek blessings, wealth and happiness from Lord Agni.

Walking around the fire

There is an old tradition which says that if one walks around the fire on the day of Lohri, one can expect miracles to happen. Many devotees of Lord Agni thus believe that their prayers and concerns will receive an immediate answer, and things will change for the better.

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Exchange of gifts

Lohri is also the time when gifts are exchanged amongst family members as a token of love and respect.

Farmer’s New Year of harvest

Lohri marks the 'New Year for Punjabi Farmers', bringing health and prosperity to all. Every year on Lohri day, the farmers gather in front of bonfire and throw puffed rice to pray and show gratitude for their crops before the harvesting begins and pray to Lord Agni to bless their land with wealth. Some even chant ‘Aadar aye dilatherjaye’ i.e. ‘may honour come and poverty vanish’ and sing other popular traditional songs while walking around the fire.

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Indulging in winter foods

Since Lohri celebrates the harvest of winter crops, it is compulsory to eat winter foods on this day. The traditional Punjabi main course includes Sarson da Saag and Makki di roti, Tilki barfi, Gur ki roti, Makhane ki kheer. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Importance of first Lohri for brides

As a new member of the family, the bride performs Punjabi Gidda around the fire and receives blessings from elders. It is believed that the bride will bring success to her new family through her own good fortune.

Food to prefer on Lohri

Gajak: It’s a dry sweet made of sesame seeds or peanuts and jiggery. A delicious mixture of dried fruits and nuts with ‘Khowa' or solidified milk cream. A good amount of sugar and ghee, a form of clarified butter goes into it making it a rich and delectable dessert item traditionally eaten during Lohri.

Makke Di Roti-Saarson Da Saag: A traditional Lohri dinner is never complete without the unleavened bread made from corn meal and its accompaniment the delicious dish of mustard leaves cooked with garlic, onions and tomatoes.

Atta Laddoo: Atta Laddoo is a great food item to be served on this day. Small lemon sized balls prepared by rolling a mixture of roasted whole wheat flour and molasses.

Coconut Chikki: Coconut Chikki is made with dried coconut, poppy seeds and sugar. This is a sweet delight, specially made to celebrate various Indian festivals like Holi, Diwali and Rakhi and especially on Lohri.