What is the significance of Lohri and why we burn fire on Lohri?

What is the significance of Lohri and why we burn fire on Lohri?
Lohri marks the end of the winter. Crowds gather around large, teaming bonfires to celebrate the passing of the winter solstice. Rabi crops are primed for harvest as farmers look forward to a new season.

One of Veer Zaara’s most popular songs Lodi re-popularised the tradition of dancing and singing as everyone circles the bonfire. Not just in Punjab, but other parts of North India, people celebrate by charring wood and playing songs on the radio.

Lohri signals the beginning of the happy sunny days. Here are a few FAQs about Lohri that might interest you.

  1. What is Happy Lohri?
    Happy Lohri is the conventional greeting on Lohri. Rather than go to each other’s homes to exchange sweets or mithai, like during Diwali, Lohri calls for everyone to meet at a common place. The community comes together and wishes each other a ‘Happy Lohri’ signifying the beginning of a new season. The word Lohri is derived from two words til (sesame) and rorhi (jaggery), which are traditionally eaten during the festival. The terms til and rorhi together used to sound like 'tilohri' earlier in history, gradually morphing into the term ‘Lohri’. One the fire dies out, dinner includes crowd favorites like makki di roti te sarson da saag (cornflour pancakes and mustard spinach) and lassi (buttermilk).
  2. What is the significance of Lohri?
    Lohri celebrations mark the beginning of the harvest season. It is celebrated to offer thanks for making a bounteous harvest possible. Lohri night traditionally falls on the longest night of the year known as the winter solstice. Lohri festival indicates that the biting cold of the winter is ending and happy sunny days are arriving.
  3. What do we do on Lohri?
    Bonfire is the top highlight of Lohri. Traditionally, families used to gather around bonfires and sing folk songs like Sundariye Mundariye Ho. Nowadays, most people plug in a speaker to play songs off of YouTube or other music apps.Dishes made of rewri, gajak, peanuts and other seasonal products are snacks — as well as bonfire fodder.
  4. What do you put on a Lohri fire?
    People sing and dance around the Lohri fire and throw foods like gajak, popcorn, puffed rice and others into the fire as ‘tributes’ to the gods in exchange for blessings. Lohri is also considered especially auspicious for newlywed couples and parents with newborn babies.
  5. Why do we burn fire on Lohri?
    Folklore of Punjab believes that the flames of the bonfire lit on the day of Lohri carry the messages and prayers of the people to the sun god to bring warmth to the planet to help crops grow. In exchange, the sun god blesses the land and ends the days of gloom and cold. The next day is celebrated as Makar Sankranti. For some, the bonfire symbolically indicates that the bright days are ahead of the people’s lives and acts as the carrier of people’s prayers to the sun god — it's just a really good excuse to party.

See Also - All you need to know about Pongal and Sankranti