The importance and significance of Lohri Festival
The ancient significance of the festival is both as a winter crop season celebration and a remembrance of the Sun deity Surya. Lohri songs mention the Indian Sun god asking for heat and thanking him for his return. Another legend explains the celebration as a folk reverence for fire.
There’s an ancient story which links Lohri to the tale of Dulla Bhatti. The central theme of many Lohri songs is the legend of Dulla Bhatti, whose real name was Abdullah Bhatti and lived in Punjab during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. He was regarded as a hero in Punjab, for rescuing Punjabi girls from being forcibly taken to be sold in slave market of the Middle East. Amongst the were two girls he saved were Sundri & Mundri, who gradually became theme of Punjab' folklore. As a part of Lohri celebrations, children go around homes singing the traditional folk songs of Lohri with "Dulla Bhatti" name included. One person sings, while others end each line with a loud "Ho!" sung in unison. After the song ends, the adult of the home is expected to give snacks and money to the singing troupe of youngsters.
As India is a multilingual, multi-religious, multi-cultural nation, the festival of Lohri possess unique regional celebration that is quite diverse according to the geographical regions.
People throughout India love celebrating the festival of Lohri but with different names and different tradition, customs and rituals. But everywhere this day leads to joyous celebrations, music, folk dances and songs. The homes are neatly decorated, new dresses are worn, prayers are offered to Gods and lot of sweets and goodies are cooked. Thus, different cultures also mean that different rituals are followed.