Observed a night before Makar Sankranti, LOHRI is celebrated by those in North India as a traditional winter harvest festival of farmers. It commemorates the passing of the Winter Solstice and looks forward to longer days as the Sun journeys towards the Northern hemisphere.
Lohri marks receding of the winters and the beginning of new harvest season. It is primarily celebrated in North India.
The word Lohri comes from ‘Tilohri’ i.e. ‘til’ meaning sesame and ‘rorhi’ meaning jaggery/gur. Eventually, the festival was just referred to as Lohri. It is believed that both the ingredients help cleanse the body, bring renewed energy for the New Year. That’s why foods like jaggery, gajak, til ki chikki are offered to the fire as a way of paying gratitude to nature. It is believed that offering food items to the God of Fire on this day helps take away all negativity from life and brings in prosperity. Here, the bonfire symbolises Lord Agni. After offering food to the almighty, people seek blessings, prosperity and happiness from Lord Agni.