JAMMU, Jan 13: Along with other parts of the country, the festival of Lohri was celebrated across Jammu region with religious and traditional fervor marking the end of winter solstice and onset of longer days.
Notwithstanding incessant rain throughout the day, people lit bonfire at sunset and socialized around the fire besides offering mixture of peanuts, popcorns, dry fruits and sugar candies, which is the permanent ritual of the Lohri festival.
Throwing this mixture into the fire represents burning of the old year and start of the next year on Makar Sankranti. People also performed prayer and went around the fire as mark of respect to the natural element of fire.
As a part of the celebrations, a few groups of children were also seen at some places, mostly in rural areas, singing the traditional `Dulla Bhatti’ folk song and going door to door. These children were offered sweets and money also by the families.
Pertinent to mention here that Lohri is linked to the Bikrami calendar and mostly falls on January 13 of the Gregorian calendar. It is celebrated a day before Makar Sankranti. There are many folklores about Lohri, which is the celebration of the arrival of longer days after the winter solstice.
Most popular folklore links Lohri to the tale of Dulla Bhatti during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. He was regarded as a hero in Punjab, for rescuing Hindu girls from being forcibly taken to be sold in slave market of the Middle East. Amongst those he saved were two girls Sundri and Mundri, who gradually became a theme of Punjab folklore.