The night before Holi, people make Holika pyres from wood and cow dung and burn them and pray to God for their wishes to be fulfilled. Wood pyres and cow dung are burned in accordance with this tradition in northern India, Nepal and parts of southern India.

By Pankaj Khanna,

Holika Dahan symbolizes the victory of good over evil and is celebrated a day before the rangwali Holi. The night before Holi, people make Holika pyres from wood and cow dung and burn them and pray to God for their wishes to be fulfilled. Wood pyres and cow dung are burned in accordance with this tradition in northern India, Nepal and parts of southern India. The youngsters playfully steal everything and put them on the Holika pyre. In some parts of India, the day is actually called Holika Dahan.

Holika Dahan is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Falgun. This year, the Holika dahan will be held on Thursday, March 17, 2022, Holika Dahan muhurta from 9:06 PM to 10:16 PM.

The root of the celebration of Holika Dahan lies in the legend of the devotee of Lord Vishnu, Prahlad and his demon father, Hiranyakshap. It is from this story that we got the name of this festival ‘Holika Dahan’

The legend says that there once lived a diabolical and powerful king Hiranyakshyap who considered himself a God and wanted everyone to worship him and who considered Lord Vishnu as his mortal enemy as he had taken the Varaha avatar to kill his elder brother Hiranyaksha . His son, Prahlad, was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu. According to Hindu texts, there was a boy named Prahlada, born of the demon king Hiranyakashipu and his wife, Kayadu. While the little boy was in his mother’s womb, he heard about the Lord Vishnu and his supreme power through Saga Narada.

When the boy was born and grew a little older, he began to worship Lord Vishnu. This did not go down well with his father, and he tried several ways to kill his own son. For the inexperienced, King Hiranyakashipu had a vardan that made him invincible. He was given a vardan that he could not be killed by either animal or human, could not be killed inside or outside the house, could not be killed by day or by night, could not be killed on land or in the air and by artificial weapons. This blessing made him very arrogant and cruel. Hearing about his son’s devotion to Lord Vishnu, he made several attempts to kill Prahalad. However, the little boy survived each attack unscathed. After seeing all this, he resorts to his sister Simhika (Holika) to help him kill his son. Sumhika agreed to help him, for even she got a blessing from Lord Brahma that no fire can burn her. Holika had received a blessing that she cannot be killed by fire and she had a divine scarf that protected her from fire. One day before Holi, she lured Prahlad to sit on her lap as she sat on the bonfire wearing the divine scarf. But when the fire was lit Prahlad prayed to Lord Vishnu to protect him so Lord Vishnu summoned a gust of wind to blow Holika’s scarf and beyond to Prahlad and save him from the flames of the bonfire and Simhika (Holika) was burned down to ashes despite wearing the divine scarf. This incident left Hirnakashipu shocked and asked his son to prove his devotion. He asked if his lord in the pillar exists, to which Prahlada said ‘yes’. When the king heard this, he broke the pillar and, to his horror, came out half a lion and half a man.

The half human and half lion were Lord Vishnu in Narasimha avatar to kill the demon. With all the parameters in mind, Narasimha ripped his torso apart with his bare nails at dusk. Since then, the avatar of Narasimha has been worshiped throughout the country and the day has been celebrated as Holika Dahan. In memory of this event, there is this canon of performing Holika Dahan (the burning of the bonfire seen Holika). The Holi festival gives a message that this is how the Almighty remains available to protect His devotees and the victory of good over evil.

(The author is chairman, Khanna Gems. Opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.)


This post Holi 2022 Date: When is Holi and Holika Dahan this year, know the Muhurta and its importance? was original published at “https://www.financialexpress.com/lifestyle/holi-2022-date-when-is-holi-and-holika-dahan-this-year-know-the-muhurta-and-its-importance/2462439/”

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