Photo: Matzuri
Holika Dahan: Date, Time, History, Significance & Celebration. Photo: Matzuri

Holika Dahan

On the day of Holika Dahan, Purnima Tithi begins at 03:27 am on Mar 28, 2021, and ends at 12:17 am on Mar 29, 2021.

Holi and Holika Dahan: What's the difference?

Holika Dahan also is known as ‘Choti Holi’ is an important festival of Hindus that is celebrated a day before the colorful festival of Holi all over India with a lot of love and happiness. Holika Dahan commemorates the death of the demoness called ‘Holika’. This ritual symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

As Holi is celebrated on the full moon day or Poornima during the Hindu ‘Phalgun’ month hence Holika Dahan is observed on the previous evening. According to the Hindu scriptures, Holika Dahan must be performed during the ‘Pradosh Kaal’ i.e. the period just after sunset as the Purnimasi Tithi prevails. The Bhadra prevails in the 1st half of this Tithi thus any auspicious task should be avoided during the Bhadra, Krishijagran noted.

READ MORE: Holi Festival in India: Date, Significance, Celebrations and More

No Holi celebrations, only 'Holika Dahan' allowed 2021

The Gujarat government on Sunday said permission won't be granted for Holi celebrations due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the state through the religious ritual of 'Holika Dahan' associated with the festival can take place with crowd restrictions. Holi falls on March 29 and Holika Dahan on its eve on March 28. The government will only allow 'Holika Dahan', a pyre lighting ritual symbolizing the victory of good over evil on the eve of Holi, that too with a limited number of people in housing societies and villages, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said, Firstpost reported.

History of Holika Dahan

Photo: Beattractive
Photo: Beattractive

The legends believe that a deman or Asura named Hiranyakashipu ruled India during ancient time. Hiranyakashipu, who received blessing from Lord Bramha, wanted to avenge the death of brother Hiranyakash who was killed by Lord Vishnu’s Varha avatar. In order to avenge the death of his brother, Hiranyakashipu started killing the devotees of Lord Vishnu.

He virtually eradicated all the devotees of Lord Vishnu. However, he had a son named Prahlada, who was a big devotee of the Lord himself. Hiranyakashipu was outraged by the fact that his own son is a worshipper of Lord Vishnu and thus decided to kill him. He tried to kill his son many times but Prahlada was saved by Lord Vishnu every time which angered Hiranyakashipu even more.

Thus in an attempt to kill Prahlada, Hiranyakashipu called his sister Holika, who had a special cloak clothe that prevented her from being harmed by fire. Hiranyakashipu asked Holika to sit on fire with Prahlada to kill. However, the opposite happened and Holika was burnt to death while Prahlada was once again saved by Lord Vishnu.

Soon Lord Vishnu, in his Narasimha avatar, appeared and killed Hiranyakashipu with his ‘lion claws’ at the evening at the doorstep of his palace. Thus we celebrate Holika Dahan to signify the victory of good over evil, English Jagran regarded.

Significance of Holika Dahan

The festivities begin on the night before the main Holi with Holika Dahan where people gather to perform religious rituals and to also burn the effigy of Holika, the sister of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, as a sign of the victory of good over evil. The first day is often referred to as Chhoti Holi and the next morning is celebrated as Rangwali Holi where all gather and play with colors, India noted.

How Holika Dahan is celebrated?

Photo: Vhpthailand
Photo: Vhpthailand

Preparations for Holika Dahan begin days before the actual celebration. People start accumulating wood and other combustible material for lighting beacons near the temples, in parks, or in open spaces. Generally, people do the puja at home but in some places, the puja is performed at the place of Holika Dahan.

A log of wood is placed at a known place on the Basant Panchami festival. And from that day onwards, people enlarge this log with small wood branches, dried leaves, twigs, or combustible materials.

On the day of Holika Dahan, an effigy of Holika and Prahlad are placed on the top of the pile of woods. Usually, the effigy of Prahlad is made from a non-combustible material and Holika’s effigy is made from combustible material. At the Muhurat, the stack of woods is set afire and people recite ‘Rakshoghna Mantras’ mentioned in the Rig Vedas.

In some places, barley or jau is roasted in the Holika fire and people take it back home for good luck and fortune. It is also thought that by worshipping Holika Dahan all the diseases and negative energies in the family get eradicated.

Wishing you all a very Happy Holi !!

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