Holika Dahan is a significant Hindu festival that is celebrated on the night before the Hindu festival of Holi. It is also known as Chhoti Holi, Holika Deepak, and Kama Dahanam. The festival is celebrated in various parts of India and Nepal with great enthusiasm and fervor. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil and the triumph of righteousness over wickedness.
The legend behind Holika Dahan goes back to ancient Hindu mythology. It is said that there was a demon king named Hiranyakashyap, who was a tyrant ruler and believed that he was the most powerful and invincible person on earth. He wanted everyone to worship him instead of the gods. However, his son Prahlad was a devout follower of Lord Vishnu and refused to worship his father.
This enraged Hiranyakashyap, and he tried various ways to kill Prahlad, but Lord Vishnu always protected him. Finally, the demon king asked his sister Holika, who had a boon of being immune to fire, to sit in the fire with Prahlad on her lap. But Holika's plan backfired, as her boon only worked if she entered the fire alone. As a result, Prahlad emerged unscathed from the fire, while Holika was burnt to ashes.
This event is celebrated as Holika Dahan, where people light a bonfire to symbolize the burning of Holika and the victory of good over evil. The festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Phalguna, which falls in February or March.
On the day of Holika Dahan, people gather wood and other combustible materials to create a bonfire. They also make effigies of Holika, which are placed on top of the bonfire. Before lighting the fire, people perform a puja, which involves offering flowers, sweets, and other items to the gods. They also smear themselves with turmeric powder, which is considered to be auspicious.
As the bonfire burns, people dance around it and sing traditional songs. They also throw colored powder and water on each other, which is a precursor to the main Holi festival the next day. The festival is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm, and people exchange sweets and snacks with each other.
Holika Dahan is an important festival that signifies the victory of good over evil and the importance of devotion and faith in God. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor throughout India and Nepal and is a symbol of the rich cultural heritage of the region.