Holika Dahan

Holika Dahan, which is also known as Holika Deepak or Chhoti Holi is done by worshiping Holika and burning it with woods while singing songs.

Updated: January 12, 2019

Holika Dahan, which is also known as Holika Deepak or Chhoti Holi is done by worshiping Holika and burning it with woods while singing songs. Holika Dahan is a community event which is performed at streets and roads junction when people burn Demoness Holika symbolically in huge bonfire. On the first day of Holashtak people choose the place of Holika Dahan. The chosen place is sanctified with holy water of Ganges and few dried woods are collected and placed on the sanctified spot. The ritual of collecting dried woods, which are fallen from trees naturally, continues for the next eight days. By the last day of Holashtak the spot has good amount of dried woods which is used to burn demoness Holika symbolically.

Holika Dahan should be done during Pradosh Kaal which starts after sunset while Purnimasi Tithi is prevailing. Bhadra prevails during first half of Purnimasi Tithi and all good work should be avoided when Bhadra prevails. The first preference to get Holika Dahan Muhurta is during Pradosh while Purnimasi Tithi is prevailing and Bhadra is over. If Bhadra prevails during Pradosh but it ends before midnight then Holika Dahan should be done after Bhadra is over. If Bhadra is getting over after midnight then only Holika Dahan should be done in Bhadra and preferably during Bhadra Punchha. In no condition Holika Dahan should be done in Bhadra Mukha and it should be avoided as doing so brings bad luck for the whole year not only for individuals but for whole city and country. When Bhadra Punchha is not available between Pradosh and midnight, Holika Dahan should be done during Pradosh.
When neither Pradosh nor Bhadra Punchha is available then only Holika Dahan is done after Pradosh which is a rare case. As doing Holika Dahan at wrong time would bring suffering and misfortune, it is important to choose right Muhurta for Holika Dahan.

The most famous holi legend is Prahlada who was ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Prahlada, the son of demon Hiranyakashipu and his wife Kayadhu, was born and brought up under guidance of sage Narada when Hiranyakashipu was busy in pleasing Lord Brahma to gain immortality. Hiranyakashipu was enemy of Lord Vishnu and he was highly against of his son being devotee of Lord Vishnu. When Prahlada refused to obey Hiranyakashipu, Hiranyakashipu asked his sister Holika, a lady demon, to kill Prahlada. As Holika had divine shawl, gifted by Lord Brahma to protect her from fire, she made a plan to kill Prahlada in a huge bonfire. As folklore goes when the fire was lit Prahlada started chanting the name of Lord Vishnu. When Lord Vishnu found his devotee in danger he summoned a gust of wind to blow the shawl off to Holika and on to his devotee Prahlada. Prahlada was unhurt due to grace of Lord Vishnu and divine shawl while demoness Holika was burned to ashes in huge bonfire. Therefore, Holi festival got its name from the legend of Holika and Holi bonfire is known as Holika Dahan.

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