HOLIKA DAHAN - SIGNIFICANCE AND CELEBRATIONS
Holika Dahan is a significant and integral aspect of the Holi festival which is celebrated with much fervor in almost every part of India.
Holi celebration takes place in the month of March and lasts for two days.
The first day is observed and celebrated as Holika Dahan which is also known as Choti Holi, Kamudu Pyre or Jalane Wali Holi. It is celebrated by lighting a bonfire which symbolizes burning of Holika, the demoness.
This festival marks the death of devil Holika by Lord Vishnu in order to save his devotee, Prahlad.
HOLIKA DAHAN - DATE AND TIME
As per Hindu Calendar, Holika Dahan will be celebrated on Phalgun Purnima.
Holika Dahan Shubh Muhurat
The burning of Holika Dahan pyre should always be done during Pradosh Kaal when Purnimasi tithi is prevailing.
Pradosh Kaal usually prevails after Sunset.
Bhadra comes during the first half of Purnimasi and this is the time when all sorts of auspicious work should be avoided.
Holika Dahan Shubh Muhurat is decided on the basis of the prevalence of Bhadra tithi.
Holika Dahan should be done only after Bhadra gets over and if in case Bhadra prevails before midnight then only Bhadra time should be considered and that too Bhadra Punchha. In no circumstance, the time for Bhadra Mukha should be considered as it could lead to some bad luck and unfortunate circumstances.
HOLIKA DAHAN - LEGEND AND SIGNIFICANCE
Holika Dahan is a festival that marks the victory of good over evil owing to the legend that is associated with it. Holika Dahan story is about the triumph of the honest and the good despite the evil being strong and powerful.
Holika Dahan story basically revolves around an evil king named Hiranyakashipu, his devil sister Holika and Prahlad, the king’s son.
As the legend has it, King Hiranyakashipu got a boon from Lord Brahma that he cannot be killed by man or animal, in day or in night, inside or outside and neither with any ammunition. This made the king arrogant and he ordered everyone to consider him as God and worship him.
However, his son Prahlad outrightly refused as he was a Vishnu devotee and continued worshipping Lord Vishnu.
This infuriated the King and he asked his sister Holika to kill him. Holika had a boon of being immune to fire. So she sat in a bonfire with Prahlad on her lap in order to kill him. However, Lord Vishnu killed Holika as she burnt herself and Prahlad came out of the fire alive without even one scar.
The faith in the almighty was restored as evil was destroyed and the virtuous won. This is why this festival holds immense religious reverence for Lord Vishnu devotees.
HOLIKA DAHAN - CELEBRATIONS
The celebrations and preparation of Holika Dahan begin days before the actual festival. People start gathering combustible material, wood and other necessary things to prepare the pyre for the bonfire.
Some also put an effigy on top of the pyre which in a way symbolizes the devil Holika.
On the eve of the first day of Holi celebrations, the pyre symbolizing Holika is lit signifying the destruction of evil. People sing and dance around the bonfire. Some also do ‘Parikrama’ around the fire.
Holika Dahan is the most significant part of Holi celebrations which is followed by Dhulandi the next day. It is celebrated with a great deal of enthusiasm and brings people of all cultures together.