Holika Dahan

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Holika Dahan also Kamudu pyre is celebrated by burning Holika, the devil. For many traditions in Hindusim, Holi celebrates the death of Holika in order to save Prahlad, and thus Holi gets its name. In olden days, people use to contribute a piece of wood or two for Holika bonfire.

It is a major ritual performed at the time of Holi which is also considered as an important Holi Puja. People lights up the bonfires on the eve of Holi festival to celebrate the victory of ‘good’ over the ‘bad’ which is known as Holika Dahan.

History of Holika and Prahlad:

According to the Hindu myth, there was a king named Hiranyakashipu, who is like a demons or Asuras had the intense desire to be immortal. Just to fulfil this desire he performed the required penance (Tapas) until he was given a boon by Brahma. Although God’s do not usually grant the boon of immortality, he used his cunningness to get the boon which he thought that will make him immortal. The boon gave the Hiranyakashyapu five special powers that he couldn’t be killed by neither the human beings nor animal, neither indoor nor outdoors, neither at the day nor at the night, neither by any weapons that are launched means by Astra nor by weapons that are hand held means Shastra and neither on the land nor in the water or air. As his wish was granted, Hiranyakashyapu felt that he was invincible, which made him arrogant. He even decreed that he is worshipped as God, if anyone didn’t accept his orders he or she will be punished or can be killed. His own son Prahlad was disagreed with his father and refused to worship his father as god. Prahlad continue believing and worshipping Lord Vishnu.

This thing made Hiranyakashipu angry and he made various attempts to kill Prahlad. During his attempt on his son’s life, he called upon his sister Holika for the help. Holika had the special cloak garment that prevented her from being harm her by fire. He asked him to sit on bonfire with Prahlad by tricking Prahlad to sit on her lap. However, as the fired roared the garment which Holika was wearing flew from her and covered Prahlad. Holika burnt to death and Prahlad came out unharmed.
 Vishnu appeared in form of Narasimha- half human and a half lion, at the dusk when it was neither the day nor the night yet, and took the Hiranyakashyapu at a doorstep which was neither indoor nor outdoor, placed him on his lap which was neither a land, air, or water and then used lion claws to fight Hiranyakashyapu which was neither the Astra nor Shastra. In this way, the boon of five special powers granted to Hiranyakashyapu was not longer usefull and he was killed. Thus, Prahlad and the kingdom of human beings were free from the fear of Hiranyakashyapu.

The good was triumphant over evil.