Holika Dahan

Holika Dahan also Kamudu pyre is celebrated by burning Holika, the devil. For many traditions in Hinduism, 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.

The night before the Holi pyre is burnt in the North India, Nepal and parts of south India have this tradition. The youth playfully steal all sorts of things and put them in the Holika pyre.
It is noted that in some parts of India the day is actually known as Holika. There s also another activities associated with the story of Prahlad. But the burning of Holika is one that we all directly associate with Holi.

Rituals in Holi:

Rituals of the ancient festival of Holi are religiously followed every year with care and enthusiasm.


Days before the festival people start gathering wood for the lighting of the bonfire called Holika at the major crossroads of the city. This ensures that at the time of the actual celebration a huge pile of wood is collected.

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.