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Holika Dahan 2022: The Holy Pyre, Rituals and Popular Beliefs

By March 17, 2022November 20th, 2023No Comments
holika dahan prahlad

Holika — The Demoness

The festival of colours, Holi, begins after we burn and destroy Holika, the demoness. The tradition of burning the structure of Holika one day before Holi is known as Holika Dahan or Kamudu pyre. 

Have you ever wondered what the tale of Holika Dahan is? The reason age-old rituals still a part of our lives? 

Well, we have compiled all you need to know about Holika Dahan:

Why Holika Dahan?

According to Hindu mythology, King Hiranyakashyap was a strong asura and against worshipping Gods. However, his son Prahlad was a devotee of Lord Vishnu, which made Hiranyakashyap furious. After multiple failed attempts to kill his son, the king sought help from his sister Holika, who was also a demoness with a boon of never burning in fire. They both conspired to make Prahlad sit in the fire along with Holika and burn him to death. Surprisingly, Prahlada’s confidence in Lord Vishnu kept him alive while Holika burnt.

story of prahlad

Following this widely known Holika Dahan story, Hindus light a huge fire in the night and offer old and purposeless things in it. The followers of this tradition sing and move around the huge fire, complimenting goodness and life. 

Rituals during Holika Dahan

Several days before Holika Dahan, people start gathering wood and other inflammable objects for the huge fire. Materials are then arranged in open spots like parks, squares, roadsides, and provinces. As per rituals, a Holika idol is placed on the pyre.

In the Vedic era, burning sacred fire and chanting powerful mantra eradicates evils. 

people gathering in holika dahan

Another popular belief says Holika Utsav come from Sanskrit word “Holka” or dried oats or grains. These dry grains were part of “hawana” – a famous holy fire custom. In the end, people sprinkle the “vibhuti” or holy remains from this Dahan to ward off evil. This vibhuti is specifically termed as “Bhumi Hari”.

The practice of offering oat and wheat-like bajra into the Holika fire still continues in various parts of India. So, you can consider the same items to offer on the holy pyre of Holika Dahan.

Also Read – GUDI PADWA: History, About Gudi, Food And Rituals

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Ananya Singh

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