Lohri is a popular Punjabi festival, celebrated by people from the Punjab region of South Asia The origins of Lohri are many and link the festival to Punjab region. Many people believe the festival commemorates the passing of the winter solstice. The belief is that Lohri represents the longest night before winter solstice as Lohri was originally celebrated on the night before winter solstice followed by the shortest day of the year which is observed on Maghi. About sixteen centuries ago, these festivals were actually observed at the point of winter solstice which now generally occurs around 21, 22 or 23 December.
A key feature of Lohri is the bonfire. Lighting of the fire has been common in winter solstice festivals throughout time and the world: it signifies the return of longer days. The bonfire is an ancient tradition, forming a key part of Lohri traditions. The bonfire also represents the new life of the sun which begins to reinvigorate itself on winter solstice day.
Lohri falls in the month of Paush i.e. around 13 January, as per the Gregorian calendar. It is, actually, celebrated a day before Maghi, as it marks the end of the winter season of hemant in the Punjabi calendar. The sun usually enters the Nirayana Makara rashi (Capricorn) on 14 January (99% of the time).
However, there are times when the sun could enter the zodiac a day before or a day after 14 January. Regardless, Lohri is still celebrated a day before Maghi. Makara (Maghi) sankranti (Sangrand) marks beginning of the solar maagha masa, and Lohri must be celebrated on the last day of the solar Dhanur masa, which also marks the exit of the sun from Dhanu rashi (Sagittarius).
For the general latitude and longitude of Punjab, 13 January represents the day after which sunrise occurs progressively earlier in the morning, till about 10–12 June. After these days in June, sunrise begins to occur progressively later in the morning till about 10–12 January.
Therefore, the celebration of lohri on 13 January every year coincides with the shift from a progressively later sunrise to a progressively earlier sunrise.
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