Popular Lohri celebrations take place mostly in Northern India during the winter. The Lohri celebration has various meanings and tales, many of which relate to the Punjab area.

Many people think that the celebration signifies the end of the winter solstice. People in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent celebrate Lohri to welcome the end of winter and the arrival of longer days & the sun in the northern hemisphere.

As per the solar section of the lunisolar Vikrami calendar, it is commemorated the night before Maghi, also known as Makar Sankranti, and it usually occurs around the same time each year (January 13).

In Punjab, the Jammu area of Jammu & Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh, Lohri is a recognized holiday. Although it is not a designated holiday, the event is observed throughout Delhi and Haryana. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and Muslims all participate in the holiday celebrations at these locations.

It is not officially acknowledged in Punjab, Pakistan. However, Hindus, Sikhs, and some Muslims celebrate the event in rural Punjab and the towns of Faisalabad and Lahore. Former Faisalabad Arts Council head Muhammad Tariq thinks preserving the event is crucial since Lohri is observed in both Indian Punjab and Pakistani Punjab.


The Vikrami calendar is associated with Lohri, observed the day before the Maghi festival, known as Makar Sankranti in the rest of India. The lunisolar Punjabi calendar’s solar component determines that Lohri occurs in the month of Paush, and in most years, it coincides with January 13 of the Gregorian calendar.

The Hindu solar calendar or the lunisolar Vikrami calendar’s solar component places Lohri in the Paush month. According to the Gregorian calendar, it will occur on January 13 this year.

Origins and history

European guests to Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Lahore darbar, including Wade, who visited the Maharaja in 1832, made historical allusions to Lohri. Captain Mackeson mentions Maharaja Ranjit Singh rewarding his subjects on Lohri Day in 1836 with clothing sets and significant quantities of money.

In 1844, the royal court was also known to have observed Lohri by building a massive bonfire at night. The event’s roots are not included in the chronicles of Lohri celebration in royal circles.

But there are a lot of legends about Lohri. Folklore holds that Lohri was once observed during the winter solstice, which falls at the conclusion of the customary month. Following the winter solstice, Lohri marks the beginning of longer days.

An ancient winter celebration called Lohri first appeared in areas close to the Himalayas, where the winters are harsher than in other parts of the subcontinent. It commemorates the lengthening of the days as the sun moves farther north. Maghi Sangrand is a holiday observed the day following Lohri.

During the weeks of the Rabi season cropping labor, Hindus and Sikhs would customarily light bonfires in their yards, gather around the fire, sing and dance, and celebrate the end of winter and the start of longer days.

However, Punjabis celebrate Lohri on the final day of the month when the winter solstice occurs rather than on the night of the actual winter solstice. The winter solstice is honored at Lohri.


The festival’s historical significance stems from its connection to the Punjab area as a celebration of the winter agricultural season. A well-known folktale connects Lohri to the story of Dulla Bhatti. The history of Dulla Bhatti, whose father was a zamindar and resided in Punjab under the rule of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, is the main subject of numerous Lohri songs.

In Punjab, he was revered as a hero for saving Punjabi females from being abducted against their will and sold as enslaved people in the Middle East. Two girls named Sundri & Mundri, who became a recurring topic in Punjabi legend over time, were among those he saved.

The start of the harvest season and bright days coincide with Lohri. Children sing “Dulla Bhatti” in the traditional Lohri folk songs as they visit homes as part of the festivities. A loud “Ho!” is sung in unison at the conclusion of each line while one person sings the song. After the song is over, the adults of the house are supposed to offer the young singers some refreshments and cash.


The customary bonfire is lit to commemorate the Lohri festival each year. People often give peanuts, gur ki Rewari, & makhana (fox nuts) to the bonfire & then dance around the fire while singing well-known folk songs in thanksgiving to the Gods for a healthy crop that has provided wealth to the family. This is a gesture intended to appease the fire god.

Lohri celebrations are distinguished by people congregating at a common location and erecting a massive bonfire with various types of sweet treats on display for sharing together. Everyone dancing to the dhol beats instantly transforms the mood into one of pure delight, and the party wouldn’t be complete without the vivacious Bhangra and Gidda motions. This is in contrast to most festivals in India, which see people visiting friends and relatives & distributing sweets etc.

As Lohri is all about celebrating traditional gaiety & fervor, enjoying wonderful cuisine, & placing your best foot forward when you venture out, people adorn their houses and tuck into the sumptuous feast presented. Since the January sugarcane harvest also ends around this time, various sugarcane products, including gurh and gachak, are essential to the festival meal in Punjab. Sheaves of roasted maize from the fresh harvest are also eaten during the celebrations.

The final of the winter’s coldest days, Lohri, is commemorated. Since the Mughal era, the event has been observed throughout Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and the Jammu area of Jammu & Kashmir. The Sindhi community celebrates the holiday as Lal Loi.

Hiran dances and Chajja dances

Because of extra customs like Chajja making and dancing, the Hiran Dance, and manufacturing Lohri garlands, Lohri is unique to Jammu. Young children create a Chajja, or miniature peacock, for display. They move from one house to the next while celebrating Lohri while carrying this Chajja.

The distinctive Hiran Dance is practiced in and around Jammu. Food is prepared at a few chosen homes for significant rituals. On Lohri Day, children wear distinctive garlands consisting of groundnuts, dried fruits, and candy.