Just as many Indian festivals have some lore attached to them, Lohri too is connected with some legends and traditions. Lohri is celebrated to mark the end of the dreary and awfully cold month of Pos (mid December to mid January) on 13th of January. The next day i.e., 14th of January is observed as Makar Sankranti, which accompanies the bright and sunny month of Magh. Lohri is a joyful occasion for the newly-wed couples, who would be celebrating their first Lohri after marriage and for the newly born son in a family, who would celebrate his first ever lohri. Read through the following lines to know the different legends associated with Lohri.
Legends Of Lohri Festival
The Legend of Sun God
A group of village maidens assembled and visited all the households in their neighborhood asking for cow-dung cakes, just a few days before Lohri. They gathered around every house and chanted “We’ve come, all the girls of the village! We’ve come to your courtyard!” The maidens continued collecting cow-dung cakes, till they gathered a veritable pile. They, then, deposited the pile in one house and returned back to their respective homes. The maidens performed this ritual for a valid reason. It is believed that their forefathers formulated a sacred mantra to protect the girls from cold. This was to invoke the sun god to send heat to such an extent that the winters will not affect them. In return, they used to chant this mantra around a fire on the last day of Pans as form of thanking the god. The sung on this occasion is:
Where have the shawls and braziers gone?
To the golden mountain: Where's the golden mountain gone?
To the sun's ray: Where has the sun's ray gone?
To the sun: Where's the sun gone?
To the fire: The fire burns, the ray warms
The snows melt, the cold days have ended.
The people believed that the flames conferred their message to the sun. The morning following Lohri is relatively warmer and people feel less chilly.
Another Version of Lohri
In older times, people lit fires to keep away the flesh-eating animals and protect their habitations. Everyone contributed to this communal fire, right from young boys and girls to the elderly people. Similar to the yesteryears when youngsters collected firewood from the jungles, today teenagers can be seen collecting cow-dung cakes from the neighborhood. The bonfire lit on Lohri is the symbol of protecting people as well as worshipping fire. Couples offer prayers to the fire for more children, while parents can be seen asking for husbands for their unmarried daughters.
The Legend of Dullah Bhatti
Lohri is associated with a number of weddings and thus, songs, based on the old love story of Dulla Bhatti or Rai Abdullah Khan Bhatti are extremely popular on this occasion. It is a tale of a brave Rajput warrior, who rescued a beautiful girl from the clutches of lustful Mughal officials. The Rajput adopted the girl and married her off to a young Hindu boy, giving a kilo of sugar as her wedding present. This incident took place during the harvest season. Thus, Lohri is commemorated to this brave and selfless act of the courageous Dulla. On the eve of Lohri the most popular songs sung by groups of boys invariably end with the exclamation 'hoi':
Sundri Mundri Hei! Hoi!
Tera Kaun Bechara! Hoi!
Dullah Bhatti wala! Hoi!
Dullah Di Dhi viyahi ! Hoi !
Sher ShaKar pai! Hoi!
Kuri de Mamme aaye! Hoi!
UnaNe ChuRi Kuti! Hoi!
Jimidari Lutti! Hoi!
Ik kola GhuT Gaya!