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Spirit of Holika Dahan: The Chhoti Holi in India

Sivasagar, Prangan Duarah: Spring, the queen of the season brings the feeling of happiness. Trees get full of newborn green leaves and branches and flowers become more gleaming and bright. Everywhere fields become full of new grasses and thus entire nature looks green and fresh-looking. People of India welcome this charming season with a colorful festival Holi, the festival of color, joy and happiness. Holika-Dahan which is also known as “Chhoti Holi” means small Holi is a great ritual of the Hindu religion which is celebrated on the eve of Holi It is celebrated by burning Holika, the sister of the demon King, Hiranyakashipur. The tradition of Holika-Dahan was origin from the death of Holika and safety of Prahlad.

Vedas, Puranas and various mythological scripts gave various mythological expressions for the reason of celebrating Holika-Dahan and Holi. Narad Purana, a major Puran of Hinduism expressed that Holika-Dahan is celebrated in the memory of the victory of Prahlad, the son of Hiranyakashipur, and the defeat of his aunt Holika. Hiranyakashyap, an Asura from the ancient scriptures of Hinduism, wished that everybody in his kingdom should worship him but his son, Prahlad became a follower of Lord Naarayana. Hiranyakashipu eventually becomes so angry and upset at his son’s devotion to Vishnu that he decides he must kill him. He instructed his sister Holika, who was blessed with a boon that no fire could burn her, to sit in the burning fire with Prahlad in lap. But the opposite happened, Holika was burned down and nothing happened to Prahlad. Because of this victory of Prahlad over evil, Holika is burnt every year a day before Holi which is known as Holika-Dahan. Holika-dahan follows few specific rituals. Almost 40 days before the Holi, on Vasant Panchami, a log of wood is kept in a prominent public place. People go on throwing twigs, dried leaves, branches of trees left through the winter besides any other combustible material they can spare, on to that log which gradually grows into a sizable heap. On the day of Holika Dahan a statue of Holika with child Prahlad in her lap is kept on the logs. Usually, the statue of Holika is made of combustible materials, whereas, the statue of Prahlad is made of non-combustible one. On “Phalguna Purnima”, typically at or after sunset, the pyre is lit, signifying Holika Dahan. Next morning the ashes from the bonfire are collected as prasad and smeared on the limbs of the body. If spared by the fire coconuts are also collected and eat.
Few people believe that the fire of Holika-Dahan burns their problems and they burn 5 “Upali” in the fire as well in the myth of burning their all problems. Some people burn the waste of massage by the “Sarson Ubtan” in the fire in the myth of burning their all body problems and get blessed by the good health by the Holika Mata. This year in India Holika-Dahan will be on 23rd March. May this Holika Dahan bring lots of joy and happiness in your life and the fire of Holika Dahan burn your all bad lucks.

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