Happy Holi 2024: Story of Holika Dahan

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Story of holika dahan

The ritual of Holika Dahan is an integral part of the Holi festival. It is observed the night before Holi and involves people coming together to light the holy bonfire which resembles the burning of the demon Holika, the sister of Demong King Hiranyakashipu. This year, Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi will be observed on 24 March 2024. But have you ever wondered why and how this mysterious legend got associated with the festival? Let’s read the story of Holika Dahan together and find the answer. 

Also Read: Why do we Celebrate Holi? Interesting Legends Behind the Festival of Colors

Story of Holika and Prahlad

Once there was a demon king who was known by the name of Hiranyakashipu. He was a cruel and boastful king who wanted everyone to do as he commanded. Hiranyakashipur wanted the people of his kingdom to preach and pray to him as their lord. However, destiny had some other plans for the king. 

Hiranyakashipur went to the Himalayas for penance for many years. Pleased by his dedication, Lord Brahma gave him a boon. He asked for a special boon due to which death will never come near him. He could not be killed by a man, nor a beast, he could not be killed by a deity or with any shastra, and he could not be killed on earth or in sky. 

While he was doing penance in the jungles, his home was attacked by Indra and other deva who seized the opportunity. Lord Indra also abducted his wide Queen Kayadhu who was expecting a child. At this point, Narada intervened to protect Hiranyakashipur’s wife and his unborn baby who were a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. 

Being distressed and angered by Prahlad’s devotion, Hiranyakashipu saw his son as his mortal enemy and wanted to get rid of him. He tried everything in his power but was unable to harm Prahlad. He tried to convince him to give up his religious beliefs, wanted to crush him under the foot of an elephant, and threw him over a precipice, but nothing worked. All his efforts were of no use because Lord Vishnu himself was protecting Prahlad against all odds. 

As his last hope, Hiranyakashipur called his demon sister Holika for help. She was armed with a distinctive cloak that protected her from being harmed by fire. To help her brother, Holika prepared a holy bonfire and sat in it with Prahlad in her lap, hoping that the fire would kill him. Without any fear, Prahlad sat in the fire on her lap started chanting the holy mantra of Vishnu, and pleaded for help. As the fire grew stronger, a breeze swayed away the cloak and fell on Prahalad and uncovered Holika. Consequently, Prahlad remained unharmed as Holika was burnt to death.

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What is the moral of the story Holika Dahan?

The moral of the story of Holika Dahan is that good virtues will always beat evil.

Why is Holika Dahan celebrated?

Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi is celebrated the day before Holi. The primary objective of this celebration is to commemorate the ultimate win of righteousness and true virtues over any negativity and ill intentions. 

Can girls see Holika Dahan?

According to some legends, the burning of Holika Dahan is considered equivalent to the burning pyre of a female. Thus, women, especially newly married and pregnant ones, are advised to abstain from witnessing or partaking in Holika Dahan. This is to protect them and their unborn baby from any unforeseen circumstances.

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