Lohri comes with various stories that date back to centuries. Many celebrate it in the belief that the festival commemorates the passing of the longest night before winter solstice, as Lohri was originally celebrated on the night before winter solstice, being the shortest day of the year. Every individual has a different belief and every belief is followed by a different story but not many know that Lohri is the only festival that is celebrated in honor of daughters and daughter in laws and the famous folk song that is sung on the occasion of Lohri has a story in itself.
The story revolves around a character called Dulla Bhati who was the local emperor of a village called Pindi Bhatiya, a few kilometers ahead of Lahore. Dulla Bhati used to illegally charge taxes from every passing vehicle which when Akbar found out, was not proud of. Akbar instructed his commander Nizam to carry out an operation. Nizam kidnapped two Hindu daughters, Sundar and Mundar, from Dulla Bhati’s village who belonged to a poor family. Upon hearing this, Dulla revolted and brought the kidnapped girls back; he adopted them and got them married as they grew old. In respect of those girls, and Dulla Bhati’s bravery, Lohri is celebrated and upon this tiny tale the famous folk song is sung,
Tera kaun Vichara,
Dulla Bhati wala
Dulle di Dhee vahayi….
Lohri happens to be one of those rare festivals where Hindus and Sikhs gather together and celebrate the victory of Dulla Bhati, how he did not let caste, religion or financial status become an issue, he served the wrong doers and provided justice to the girls. In order to serve his people and so as to not break their trust towards him, he fought the biggest emperor and won the battle successfully bringing back the hostages.
In the essence of mere celebration the folklore is lost. These days celebrating the festival for the sake of a festival and a time to be merry, an excuse for hosting another gathering, people tend to ignore the bigger picture how one man can extinguish regional barriers and bring all together in harmony. The evil burns in the Lohri’s holy fire and that is the celebration.