According to the Hindu calendar, Lohri falls in mid-January. The earth, farthest from the sun at this point of time, starts its journey towards the sun, thus ending the coldest month of the year, Paush, and announcing the start of the month of Magh and the auspicious period of Uttarayan. According to the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna manifests himself in his full magnificence during this time. The Hindus ‘nullify’ their sins by bathing in the Ganges.
Lohri has a special significance for the agriculturists because it marks the beginning of a new financial year because on this day they settle the division of the products of the land between themselves and the tillers. Lohri assumes greater significance if there has been a happy event in the family such as the birth of a child or a marriage in the past year. The family then plays host to relations and friends and merry-making is the order of the day. Most people participate in dancing the bhangra (a folk dance) to the accompaniment of the dholak.
The festival of Lohri is linked to the atmospheric physical changes. Lohri celebrations generate a lot of bonhomie as people sit around the bonfire, talking, laughing, exchanging pleasantries, praying for prosperity, even as they make offerings of til (gingelly), moongphali (peanuts) and chirwa (beaten rice) to the burning embers. All these accounts and references point to the significance of saluting the Sun. The Sun is a symbol of plenty; it gives us all we need. Fire sanctifies our endeavor for a good life on the one hand and destroys evil spirits on the other.