This year, Holika Dahan is falling on Sunday, that is today.
The root of celebration of Holika Dahan is in the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakashipu. (File image: Reuters)
Holika Dahan 2021: A day before the auspicious festival of Holi is the ‘Chhoti Holi’ or ‘Holika Dahan’. Holika Dahan, as well as Holi, mark the triumph of good over evil, and signify love and the power of true devotion. Holi also marks the end of the winter season and the beginning of spring. This year, Holika Dahan is falling on Sunday, that is today. But what is the significance of Holika Dahan and why and how is it celebrated?
On the eve of Holi 2021, Holika Dahan will celebrated on Sunday between 6.37 PM and 8.36 PM.
Holika Dahan 2021: Significance and Legend
The root of celebration of Holika Dahan is in the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu was a demon king, who considered Lord Vishnu his mortal enemy as the latter had taken the Varaha avatar to kill his elder brother Hiranyaksha. Hiranyakashipu then pleased Lord Brahma to get the boon that he be killed neither by any Deva, human nor animal nor by any creature who takes birth, neither during the day nor at night, neither by any hand-held weapon nor by any projectile weapon, and neither inside nor outside.
Once Lord Brahma granted these boons, the demon king started believing that he was God and commanded that his subjects only praise him. However, his own son, Prahlad, defied these orders as he was devoted to Lord Vishnu, and this irked the king. Hiranyakashipu hence plotted several schemes to kill his son.
One of the most popular schemes is when Hiranyakashipu asks his sister demoness Holika to sit in a pyre with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had been given a boon that she would not be injured in a fire. However, when she sat with Prahlad in her lap, Prahlad kept chanting the name of Lord Vishnu and in the fire, Holika was burnt down while Prahlad was saved. Some legends state that this was because Lord Brahma granted Holika the boon on an understanding that she would not use her boon for evil. Holika Dahan is a recreation of this tale.
Holi 2021: How is Holika Dahan celebrated?
During Holika Dahan, a night before the Holi, people hold a bonfire to signify the pyre that was created to kill Prahlad. On this fire, several toys of cow dung are kept, with cow dung figurines of Holika and Prahlad kept at the top. Then, the figurine of Prahlad is quickly removed from the fire, as a recreation of Prahlad being saved from the fire due to his devotion to Lord Vishnu.
It marks the triumph of good over evil, and helps people understand the power of true devotion.
In the pyre, people also throw samagri, which contains items that have antibiotic properties, or other cleaning properties that can keep the environment healthy.