WHY IS LOHRI CELEBRATED?
Originally, Lohri was celebrated the night just before Winter Solstice. It used to mark the coldest night of the year, which was followed by the longest night and shortest day of the year. Since the night is extremely chilly, people protected themselves by burning the fire and keeping it throughout the night and spending their time around the fire, propitiating the deities of the sun and fire and then, made merry by eating the remnants of the offering, dancing, singing and then taking heavy and delicious food, along with their relatives. This festival also marks the harvesting time of rabi crops, that is, the crops of the winter season.
In South India it’s celebrated as Bhogi
On the occasion of Bhogi, people discard their old and useless household items, wood, and clothes among others. These items are thrown into fire which is made of wood and cowdung cakes. The ritual is called as “Bhogi mantalu” and is aimed at getting rid of old and negative things from your life and focus on new beginnings. Women wear new clothes and chant mantras around the holy fire.
They clean their house and draw rangoli of colors and flowers in front of their house. People also decorate their house with marigold garlands and mango leaves. It is also said to drive away all the negative energy from and around the house and make way for positive energy. A lot of agriculture waste is also burnt in the bonfire which is expected to offer heat during the cold weather which is about to end.