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Holika Dahan, also known as Chhoti Holi or Small Holi, is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in India and other Hindu communities around the world. It is celebrated on the evening of the full moon day in the Hindu month of Phalguna, which usually falls in February or March. The festival is named after Holika, a demoness in Hindu mythology who attempted to kill the devotee Prahlada by sitting with him on a burning pyre. However, Holika was burned to death, while Prahlada emerged unharmed, symbolising the triumph of good over evil.
To commemorate this event, people gather around bonfires on Holika Dahan night, perform prayers and rituals, and burn dummies of Holika. The burning of the dummy represents the burning of evil and negative energies, while the fire symbolises the purification of the soul. After the Holika Dahan ceremony, the next day is celebrated as Holi, the festival of colours. Holi is a joyous occasion where people play with coloured powder, sing, dance, and feast with friends and family. The festival is a celebration of spring, love, and the victory of good over evil.
To understand the significance of Holika Dahan and also to know Holika Dahan meaning, we must first know the story behind Holika Dahan. Holika brother name was Hiranyakashyap. Hiranyakashyap was the leader and also the King of Asuras. He was granted a boon, due to which he could not be killed and was made immortal. Mythological books clearly mention the powers of the boon. It stated that Hiranyakashyap could not be killed during day or night by any Astra or Shastra on land or in air or water. Because of this boon, Hiranyakashyap was filled with ego. He wanted any and everyone to worship him and, thus, started considering himself above the Gods as well. However, on the other hand, his own son Prahlad disagreed with him. Prahlad saw his father’s egoistic behaviour and did not agree to follow his term to worship him. Prahlad was also a faithful devotee of Lord Vishnu.
This is something that angered Hirnayakashyap. He, in order to get Prahlad to worship him, tortured him. However, because of Prahlad’s utmost faith towards Lord Vishnu, he did not budge. Lastly, Hirnyakashyap’s sister Holika got an idea. She tricked Prahlad into sitting with her on a pyre of wood. The initial plan of Holika and Hiranyakashyap was that they would set the pyre on fire and Prahlad would burn alive; however, on the other hand, Holika would be safe as she would be covered by a cloth that would protect her. Now, according to their initial plan, Holika and Prahlad sat on the wooden pyre; however, what happened was exactly opposite to their plan. Prahlad got out of the fire safe and sound; however, Holika got burned alive. This signifies the victory of good over evil.
Later Lord Vishnu took the Narsimha avatar in order to kill Hiranyakashyap. He took Hiranyakashyap to the doorstep of his house, which was technically neither inside nor outside, he then placed him on his lap and then proceeded to kill him with the help of his claws instead of hands.
The celebration of Holi and Holika Dahan, or the Holi fire, represents the significant victory of good over evil. In this case, it represents the victory of Prahlad over his evil father Hiranyakashyap. Moreover, it also represents the purest form of agni (fire) in which Holika burn, but on the other hand, it also keeps Prahlad safe and sound. Thus, Holika Dahan, every year, signifies the power of Agni (fire) and also gives out the message that no matter how powerful evil is, it will always get defeated by good.
Holika Dahan is celebrated every year on Holi festival’s eve. People accumulated and collected wood and set up a pyre. Before burning, the pyre is worshipped along with Holika devi. In common terms, people refer to it as Holika Devi Puja. people tie the sacred thread around the pyre and then worship it using diyas. People also light diyas next to the pyre. The next thing includes setting the pyre on fire. Once the pyre is lit, people offer a lot of stuff to the sacred and holy fire. People tend to offer coconut along with ghee, and in north India, people also offer wheat crops to the sacred or holy fire. While the pyre is burning, people chant sacred mantras in order to keep Holika’s spirit at peace. While chanting the mantra, people also circle the pyre in rounds of three, five or seven while holding a pot of water in their hands. Moreover, in parts of middle and south India, people tend to refer to the festival of Holika Dahan as Sammat Jaarna.
In the year 2023, Holi will be celebrated on 8th March 2023, which happens to be Wednesday. Now, as we know that Holika Dahan is celebrated on the eve of the Holi festival; thus, Holika Dahan will be celebrated on 7th March 2023, which will be Tuesday. According to our astrologers, the auspicious timing for the celebration of Holika Dahan will be from 06:24 PM to 08:51 PM.
In conclusion, Holika Dahan is an important Hindu festival that signifies the triumph of good over evil and the renewal of life. It is a celebration of hope, love, and happiness that people of all ages and communities enjoy. Holika Dahan and Holi are not only religious festivals, but they are also cultural celebrations of life, love, and unity. The festival brings people together, promotes social harmony, and spreads happiness and joy.