Holika Dahan is done by numerous Indians during Holi.

The article speaks about the piousness of Holika dahan in India. People burn the dry twigs and do puja to get rid of evil forces. The articles about the background of Holika Dahan.

In India, holi is one of the most celebrated festivals in the year. Many communities, castes, people of different origins come together and celebrate the occasion together.

 

The festival begins with Holika Dahan. According to Hindu mythology, Hiranyakashipu or Hiranyakashyap, a deadly demon did a great tapasya. With his tapasya he satisfied Brahma the creator. He asked for the boon of immortality.

 

Brahma understood that Hiranyakashipu was full of evil deeds. His immortality would have brought disastrous effect on the earth.

So Brahma gave him the boon that he will not die in the hand of a human being or an animal, not indoors not outdoors, not during the day or at night, not by any weapon which could be launched (astra) and not by any weapon which could be carried with hand (shastra).

 

Hiranyakashyap thought he became immortal. But his son Prahlad believed in the powers of God Vishnu, the preserver. Hiranyakashyap was staunch enemy of Vishnu. He could not tolerate his puja. So he made different plans of killing Prahlad. He made his sister Holika sit on fire with Prahlad in her lap. She had a special cloth which did not burn when lit by fire. So the plan was to kill Prahlad and Holika should have survived. But at the time when the fire was lit, the cloth flew away, it clothed Prahlad. So Holika was killed and Prahlad was saved. Later in the story, Lord Vishnu in the avatar of Narshimha came and destroyed Hiranyakashyap. He was half human and half lion. He came at “godhuli lagan”, the change of time between day and night, he did not come with Astra or sastra.

 

So on the day before Holi, twigs are brought and they are lit by fire and abir (gulal) or colour is used to do Puja. The burning of the twigs mark the end of evil forces and victory of good forces. Flowers and prasada are also given when the twigs are burned.  From that time holi begins. The same holi occasion is related to story of Putana demon trying to kill Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna was child and Putana was send by Kangsha, the mama of Krishna. She came to administer poison, but when child Krishna sucked her milk, he sucked the blood and poison, and Putana changed her disguise and came back to demon’s form. She then ran and got burst into flames. In north Indian holi is also played with the name of phagwah.

 

So it is believed that the festival of colours always bring prosperity in everyone’s lives.

 


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Every year Holika Dahan marks the beginning of Holi in India.

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The children in India study the mythological story of Holika Dahan in their curriculum in school.

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