Celebrated on 13 January every year, Lohri is a festival of enthusiasm and love. It is one of the major festivals of Punjab and is celebrated with great enthusiasm. Lohri is a day of bonfires, feasting on food like peanuts, gajak, jaggery, popcorn and more. People dress up in their best costumes in the evening and sing around the bonfire. This festival is important for harvesting rabi crops. But this is not all for this hot and beautiful festival. Many legends and tales are associated with this festival. So here are some Lesser known Lohri folk tales You should know that:
Legend of sun god
Many believe that our ancestors devised a mantra to invoke the Sun God that would protect them from the cold. Our ancestors believed that the flames from the holy Lohri would give the message of taking away the cold to the Sun God. So the next day of Lohri will be hot and the cold will be less.
Second edition of Lohri
According to another legend, in the olden days, people used to burn fires to protect themselves and their community from wild animals. Young girls and boys used to go to the forest to collect wood to burn the bonfire at night. This is the reason that even today young girls and boys go door-to-door to collect dung kandas which help to extinguish the fire. This fire is believed to protect their community from all evils.
The legend of dulla bhatti
One of the most popular songs of Lohri is “Dulla Bhatti Wala” which is sung by all the children who rob Lohri. Many other Lohri songs are based on Dulla Bhatti. Dulla Bhatti was a man who used to steal from the rich and give to the poor. He also rescued the girls and helped them to run away from misery and marry in their appropriate matches. He is considered an avatar of Robin Hood. The song is sung on Lohri and encourages everyone to protect their sister and daughters and punish those who disrespect them.
Tale of two sisters
It is believed that Holika and Lohri were two sisters. Holika was destroyed in the Holi fire while Lohri escaped with Prahlad.
Etymology of the name ‘Lohri’
It is said that Lohri is derived from Loi, who was the wife of Saint Kabir. Another legend states that the word “Loh” means the heat of fire and the word from which the word “Lohri” originated. According to some legends, the word “Lohri” is derived from sesame (sesame seeds) and rori, two of Lohri’s popular foods.