Holi is most celebrated, prominent and awaited festival across the India. it is celebrated with immense joy on the Poornima of Phalgun month. A day before Holi, devotee observe the Holika Dahan, lighting of bonfire at evening, this is also popular as “Chhoti Holi”. It signifies the victory of Good over evil spirit. Holi is celebrated on next day with natural colors.

Stories of Holika Dahan

There are many interesting tales and myth behind the Holika Dahan as per our various holy Text. The most popular one is related to demon king HiranyaKashyap and the great devotee Prahlad. Hiranyakashyap wants to become immortal, so he had started hard penance of Lord Brahma. He pleased Lord Brahma and granted five deadly powers, neither human nor animal could kill him, neither inside the door nor outside the door, neither in day nor in night, neither by astra nor by shastra, neither in water, nor in air or land. After this boon, Hiranyakashyap thoughts that he could be killed in any way so he started torture on people, avoid prayer to Lord and behave like the Lord.

Prahlad, the son of Hiranyakashyap was the great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Demon king could not tolerate devotion of his son. He tried to kill Prahlad many times but all the time Lord Vishnu save him. Finally Hiranyakashyap thought of taking help from his sister, Holika. She has super power that she could not harm by fire and had a shawl which save her. She proposed his brother to seat with Prahlad in flames and with use of shawl she could be saved and Prahlad would be killed. But again Lord Vishnu saved Prahlad, shawl flown away and cover great devotee Prahlad thus Holika was killed in fire.

होलिकामागता दृष्टवा ह्रदि हर्षन्ती मानवा : | पापमुक्तास्तु सज्जाता क्षुद्रता विलयङ्गगता ||

Finally Hiranyakashyap decided to kill Prahlad by own hand and tied with pillar and asked to call his Lord. Prahlad said Lord is everywhere and even in this pillar also. Hiranyakashyap laughed on his son’s talk, thus Lord Vishun in form of Narsimha came out from pillar and killed the Hiranyakashyap. The incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Narsimha was mix of human and animal, killed Hiranyakashyap at doorstep, with nail, put him on lap, at time of dusk. Thus boon of Lord Brahma was also taken care, Hiranyakashyap was killed and saved Prahlad and entire world from his suffering.

In some part of India, another story is related to Lord Shree Krishna and Putana. Demon king Kans had decided to kill little Lord Shree Krishna and sent Putana to kill Bal Krishna. Putana came with deadly poison, Lord Shree Krishna sucks poisoned milk along with his blood. Putana ran away burst into flames so this is celebrated by burning Putana.

Another popular legend is related to Lord Shiva, Ma Devi Parvati and god Kamdev. Demon King Tarkasur had boon that he could be killed by son of Lord Shiva Only. Lord Shiva was under deep meditation and no one had guts to breach his meditation. So all God decided to take help of Kamdev and asked for help in saving world. Kamdev was also feared of this to breach mediation of Lord Shiva but decided to take risk for wellness of world. Lord Kamdev left love arrow on Lord Shiva, this breaks the meditation of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva opened his third eye and turned Lord Kamdev into ashes.

Another story is from Mahabharata, the great sage Naradji asked for Abheydan of all people on this Purnima – Holi to Yudhisthira. So Yudhisthira told that whoever celebrates the holi, every one became happy and sin will get destroyed.

Significance of Holika Dahan

The main significance of Holika Dahan is to burn our inside devil spirit like lust, anger, ego, greed and jealously same as the burning of Holika. Every individual has to burn the selfishness with Holika Dahan. Burning of Holika marks the victory of good spirit over evil spirit.

अहकूटा भयत्रस्तैः कृता त्वं होलि बालिशै | अतस्वां पूजयिष्यामि भूति-भूति प्रदायिनीम्‌ ||

Ritual of Holika Dahan

Holika Dahan observed on day before the Phalgun Poornima, Holi. People across the nation start preparation based on their belief few days before the Holika Dahan. They collects the wood and other flammable material like dung, dry leaves, branches etc for bonfire near place of Holika Dahan from the Vasant Panchami, almost forty days before Holi.

As per the Mahurat, auspicious time of Holika Puja, people across the nation perform Puja during evening at home as well as at place of Holika Dahan. As per Time, people burn the wood and devotee started chanting of Rakshoghna Mantras. People started singing and performing Parikrama of bonfire. People roast the Jau in fire and take it to home as boon of God. With Holika Dahan, negative energy and diseases from the society burnt out.

Devotees, specifically married women observe the fast until the Puja of Holika Dahan. Women perform the Puja called Thandi Holi for wellbeing of family. Devotees look for blessing from Lord Shree Vishnu for pleasure, health and wealth. After Puja and Holika Dahan, all family enjoys the delicious dishes specially prepared on this evening. People collects the ash on next day morning and this is considered as sacred and applied on forehead.

Celebration of Holika Dahan

People across the nation celebrate Holika Dahan with immense pleasure. People gathered at Bonfire place forgetting the entire good or bad act. Remember the power of supreme lord and asked for blessing. Chanting of Mantras, dance, parikrama etc take place at Holika Dahah and then enjoy food with entire family. Next day people celebrate Holi with colors.

In short Holika Dahan is festival to burn impurities of our heart and realization of our spiritual glory and great Indian culture and tradition. To understand the real motive behind the all festival based on Vedic culture must be recognized. On this occasion we all must try to reach near to the supreme divine Lord and progress in our spiritual journey and not just making material fun attached with festival.

Holika Dahan Dates for 2019 to 2024

Year Date
2019 Wednesday, 20th of March
2020 Monday, 9th of March
2021 Sunday, 28th of March
2022 Thursday, 17th of March
2023 Tuesday, 7th of March
2024 Sunday, 24th of March