Holika Dahan is a Hindu festival that marks the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated on the eve of Holi, the festival of colors. Holika Dahan commemorates the legend of Prahlada, a devotee of Lord Vishnu, who was saved from his aunt Holika’s fire by his faith

According to the legend, Prahlada was the son of Hiranyakashipu, an asura king who hated Lord Vishnu and wanted everyone to worship him. Prahlada refused to obey his father and remained loyal to Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu tried various ways to kill Prahlada but failed every time. He then asked his sister Holika, who had a boon that she could not be burned by fire, to sit on a pyre with Prahlada on her lap. Holika agreed and took Prahlada with her. However, as the fire blazed, Holika was burned to ashes while Prahlada emerged unharmed. This was because Holika’s boon worked only when she entered the fire alone and not with any intention of harming others

Some of the rituals performed on Holika Dahan are:

  • Collecting wood: People collect wood and other combustible materials for making a bonfire at a public place or near their homes
  • Making an effigy: People make an effigy of Holika using cloth and straw and place it on top of the bonfire
  • Performing puja: People perform puja (worship) by offering flowers, coconut, grains etc. to the bonfire and praying for protection from evil forces
  • Lighting the fire: People light the fire at an auspicious time (usually after sunset) and watch it burn while singing devotional songs and dancing around it
  • Taking prasad: People take prasad (sacred food) from the bonfire such as roasted grains or coconut pieces as a blessing from God

Holika Dahan is also a time of joy and harmony for Hindus across India and abroad. People greet each other with warm wishes, forgive their enemies, share sweets and apply colors on each other’s faces the next day during Holi

Holika Dahan symbolizes the power of faith, devotion and courage over evil forces. It inspires people to follow their conscience and trust in God’s grace.