LOHRI is celebrated at the end of the traditional month when winter solstice occurs. It celebrates the days getting longer as the sun proceeds on its northward journey. The day after Lohri is celebrated as Maghi Sangrand. Lohri also marks the very famous story of Dulla Bhatti of Punjab. Basically, the belief goes that this is where this started being celebrated as a festival. According to Legends; the origin of Lohri is related to Dulla Bhatti; who is popularly known as “Robin Hood of Punjab”. He was the greatest Muslim robber of Punjab during the period of Mughal Rule (Akbar & his son Jahangir). He led a rebellion against the famous Mughal king Akbar and was successful as well.
Dulla Bhatti was born in a Punjabi family to
mother Ladhi and father Farid Khan in the area of Sandal Baar, near Faisalabad
now in Pakistan (Sandal Bar is also related to the legend of Mirza Sahiba). He
belonged to the warrior-like Rajput clan of Bhattis. He follows in the
footsteps of his father and grandfather, waged guerrilla warfare against the
Mughal Empire. He refused to accept the legitimacy of Mughal King Akbar and
refused to pay any tax. Such was the level of resistance put up by the rebels
that Akbar had to shift his Imperial Capital to Lahore for nearly 20 years.
When Akbar came to Lahore, he ordered the execution of the rebels. Legend has it
that to instill fear into the hearts of the common man, Akbar got their skins
stuffed with wheat hay (tool) and hung the dead-bodies on the main door.
He robbed from rich and distributed it among the poor. He also rescued many Hindu Punjabi girls were being taken forcefully to be sold in the slave market. Then he used to arrange a marriage for them according to Hindu rituals and provided them dowries. After his public execution in Lahore; in the memory of their savior, the girls sang songs and dance around the bonfire. This became a tradition of Punjab from that day and was celebrated gracefully all over Punjab annually as Lohri. So in every Lohri songs have words to express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti.