Lohri is a festival celebrated by people of Punjab and other North Indian states. There are many folk tales associated with Lohri festival. Lohri commemorates the passing of the Winter Solstice (Winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon which marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year).
Ladies generally wear their traditional outfits of salwar kameez with the traditional phulkari dupatta(scarf) on the day of Lohri. Phulkari dupattas are hand made by women. Phulkari means flower working.
I wore a traditional phulkari dupatta with a traditional yellow silk Punjabi suit.
Now more about Lohri festival.
Indians in general respect the natural elements of fire, wind, water and the earth. Lohri also is dedicated to the end of winter season.
Lohri is also associated with the harvest of Rabi crop and so it is also seen as the harvest festival. Farmers also see it as the start of their financial year. This is the time when seeds are bought and rents collected. This is the time when farmers saw sugarcane crop and so things made of sugarcane like gurh and gachak are really important. Nuts are also harvested during this time and so nuts are also important part of the celebrations.
The most important part of Lohri celebration is the bonfire. People light bonfire and men, women and children sing traditional Lohri songs and dance around the fire. The central theme of Lohri songs is the legend of Dulla Bhatti. Dulla Bhatti, who lived in Punjab during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. He was regarded as a hero in Punjab. Besides robbing the rich, he rescued poor Punjabi girls, being forcibly taken to be sold in slave market of the Middle East from the Sandal Bar region. He arranged their marriages to boys and provided them with dowries. Amongst them were two girls Sundri & Mundri(married in 1614) who gradually became theme of Punjab’ folklore. So some Lohri songs express gratitude to Dulla Bhatti.
Traditionally during the Lohri day, children go door to door collecting Lohri treats which include sweets and savories, and occasionally, money. They generally go around singing the traditional songs. Families with newly-weds and new born celebrate this festival in big way by distributing sweets in the neighborhood and to family and friends. The treats collected by kids are then distributed and is also thrown in the bonfire as offering to Sun God for a good harvest.