Holika Dahan is an important ritual observed by Hindus as part of celebrating Holi with a lot of exuberance each year. The event is observed only after Bhadra time to ensure maximum safety for people in an effective manner. The auspicious event of lighting the pyre of Holika must not be performed before sunset. Modern celebrations have changed a lot because of environmental awareness and tree conservation.
Holika Dahan 2017

Legends

Several stories as per mythology are in circulation that highlight the importance of Holi in a perfect manner. Firstly, the story of King Hiranyakashyap and his son Prahlada gained maximum publicity due to which the festival of Holi is held in high esteem among the devotees. According to the legend, King Hiranyakashyap used to believe himself to the supreme power. He thought himself to be the only God that people have ever known. However, his son Prahlad was unrelenting and refused to pray him. Instead Prahlad offered his sacred prayers to Lord Vishnu.

Hiranyakashyap was devastated and decides to kill his own son. He orders his sister Holika to sit along with Prahlad in fire. Holika was blessed that fire could harm her in no way and that she would never die because of fire. Surprisingly, it was Holika who gets charred to the core and Prahlad remains unaffected. It is because of the mighty power of Lord Vishnu about which Hiranyakashyap is unaware. Eventually, he gets killed by Narsinghma avatar (man’s body and lion’s head) as Hiranyakashyap had the boon of not being getting killed by humans or animals.

As per another popular legend, Goddess Parvati who is the daughter of Himalaya intends to marry Lord Shiva. However, the deep meditation of Lord Shiva causes severe unrest in her. Eventually, she orders Kaamdev to break the meditation of Shiva. This angers Shiva who burns him to ashes with his third eye and does taandav dance. After learning about the actual fact, he repents resulting in his marriage to Goddess Parvati. The event of Kaamdev getting burned is celebrated as Holika Dahan in modern times.

Holika Dahan and Lord Vishnu

Interestingly, some people are known to offer their prayers to Lord Vishnu as part of Holika Dahan. It is a common sight to observe people getting devoted to the God in hammock. However, it is because of the popular belief that those who celebrate Lord Vishnu on the same day are known to realize happiness and joy for sure. People across India are known to observe the day  in order to experience a prosperous life. This incident marks the celebration of Holi.

Holi, the festival of colors, is celebrated immediately after Holika Dahan. People consider the event as a symbol of friendliness wherein people bury their past enmities and offer to become friends henceforth. Applying colors on hands and faces to their relatives and friends is a part of grand celebration. Both children as well as elders participate in this popular ritual with equal enthusiasm.

इस आर्टिकल को हिंदी में पढ़ने के लिए यहां क्लिक करें

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