Story Behind Holika Dahan | Puja Vidhi & Subh Muhurat of Holika Dahan 2021-22

Holika Dahan in 2021

28

March, 2021

(Sunday)

Holika Dahan is celebrated one day before the festival of Holi. This is one of the most significant festivals of the Hindu religion. Not only in India but this festival is also celebrated in various regions of Nepal. This festival displays the triumph of good over evil. According to the Hindu Panchang, this festival occurs on the full moon of the Phalguna month.

On this day people use wood and cow-dung to form Holika and burn it, and then pray to god for the fulfilment of wishes. This day makes us restore our trust and belief in God plus like Prahlad you can get through any obstacle in life.

Importance Of Holika Dahan

Holika Dahan plays an important role in our lives and makes us realize the power of truth and honesty. This festival teaches us that we should never be too proud of our power and status. Never torture someone as people who do so have to face the consequences.

Along with this, ancient tales of Holika Dahan describe the importance of fire and light in our lives. We also understand how God protects those who adopt the path of truth.

Why do we celebrate Holika Dahan?

This festival displays how always good wins over evil. It is said that on this auspicious day an evil named Holika died. According to the ancient tales, in “Satyug”  lived an egoistic king named Hirankashyapu who was lost in the pride of his powers and started calling himself God. He wanted everyone to pray to him instead of God, however, his own son, Prahlad, denied to do so and instead started worshipping Lord Vishnu.

After seeing this, Hirankashyapu started punishing Prahlad but failed miserably every time. Lord Vishnu saved Prahlad from all the troubles and this irritated Hirankashyapu. So, he planned on killing his son with the help of his evil sister Holika. However, Holika had a quilt/blanket as a vardan that protected her from a fire so Hirankashyapu thought that nothing would happen to her and his plan would succeed. When Holika sat with Prahlad on the fire pit, the blanket flew over Prahlad and she immediately turned to ashes. After this incident, Lord Vishnu appeared in the Narsingh Avatar because Hiranyakashipu had a vardan from Lord Brahma that no one can kill him during the day or night, or on the floor or sky, no God, evil, human or any weapon can harm him.

When Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Narsingh he said “ I live everywhere, in your palace, inside you, I can change unholy to holy, however unholy things can never harm me and here is your death sentence “ right now it's not night or day, nor I am a man or an animal and your death will not take place on the floor or sky. After saying this Lord Vishnu ripped off Hirankashyapu’s chest and killed him. From this day onwards, the Holika Dahan festival is celebrated as the greatest example of triumph over evil.

How is the festival of Holika Dahan celebrated?

The preparation for Holika Dahan starts a few days before it arrives. In the different villages and towns, people start collecting wood to form Holika. Cow-dung is also an essential part of Holika. After this, Holika Dahan takes place at a holy time and people from the locality gather to celebrate the burning of evil together. Some people also throw away all the negative stuff and energy in the sacred fire of Holika Dahan.

This portrays that fire can eliminate all the negative energy and fill our life with the positivity of light and protects us. In north India, there is a custom of throwing away the garbage that comes out of the body scrub in the sacred fire of Holika Dahan. Many people, to save themselves from the bad shadows or negative energy, rub the ashes of Holika on their forehead.

The modern tradition of Holika Dahan

The tradition of Holika Dahan has changed and evolved with time. Earlier people used to think of this festival as a great example of the triumph of good over evil. In ancient times Holika was formed in a much simpler way and the size was medium or small. Initially to form
Holika people only used wood, cow-dung, and Khar-patvaar and it was built far away from the residential places or in a garden or any other empty space. However, nowadays everything related to this festival has completely changed.

In today’s time, people from huge Holika’s in residential places and fields. Due to this, the flames are quite high and there are chances of catching fire. Earlier people used to put wood, khar-patvar in Holika and now harmful things like the tyre-tubes, plastic and rubber are common.

When you burn a Holika consisting of these substances it produces harmful gases and adversely harms the environment. That is why it is better to maintain simplicity and use an environmentally friendly way of celebrating Holika Dahan.  In this way, this festival can communicate its main message to all the people around the world.

History Of Holika Dahan

This festival celebrated on the full moon of Phalgun Month has an ancient history of its own. In different states of India, you can find many shreds of evidence of around 300 BC. There are many legendary tales related to Holika Dahan and the most renowned one is the Prahlad and Holika’s story. According to this story, there was an egoistic and ruthless king named Hirankashyapu during the Satyuga period. He was too proud of his powers and started believing that he is God. He wanted everyone in his state to pray to him and treat him equal to God.

However, his own son Prahlad refused to listen to him. Due to this, Hirankashyapu planned to kill his son Prahlad. After a lot of failed attempts, Hirankashyapu took the help of his sister Holika and planned to kill him on a fire pit. Holika had a quilt as a vardan that protected her from fire and she can never be harmed.

She sat with Prahlad on her lap in the firepit. However, nothing happened to Prahlad and Holika received the punishment for her bad deeds and turned to ashes. After this incident, Lord Vishnu appeared in the Narsingh Avatar and killed Hirankashyapu. From this day onwards the festival of triumph of good over evil called Holika Dahan is celebrated.

Here is another tale that is related to the Holika Dahan festival. Mata Parvati wanted to get married to Lord Shiva but due to his Tapasya, he didn’t pay attention to her. However, at that time to breach Lord Shiva’s Tapasya Lord Kam Dev appeared and he fired a Pushp Arrow towards him. Lord Shiva got very angry and opened his third eye and turned Kam Dev to ashes.

The next day when Lord shiva calmed down the wife of Kaam Dev, Rati begged him to bring her husband back to life. According to the ancient tales, it was the incident of Kam Deva turning into ashes that gave birth to the festival of Holika Dahan. The next day when Kaam Deva was reborn, the festival of Holi was introduced.

Rules Of Holika Dahan According to Shastras

Holashtak period stays from Phalgun Shukla Ashtami to Phalgun Shukla Purnima (Full Moon). During this period, any holy work is entirely restricted. It is on the day of the full moon (Purnima) when Holika Dahan is celebrated. Initially, for this, you have to take care of the two most important rules:

  1. Firs is that day shouldn’t have “Bhadra”. Another name of Bhadra is Vishti Karan, which one of the eleven Karnas(करणों). One Karana is equivalent to half of the date.

  2. The second important rule is that the Purnima should be PradoshKaal-Vyapini. In simple words, on that day after the sunset three muhurtas should consist of the full moon.

Why are Holika Dahan ashes considered holy?

According to the shastras, Holika Dahan ashes are the purest and the holiest. These ashes consist of the blessings of all the Gods and Goddesses. Using these ashes for Tilak results in good luck and an increase in wisdom. It is believed that these sacred ashes can soak up all the negativity from your life.

On the other hand, is you use these ashes as an Uptan, you can easily get rid of all skin problems. If you roast Gehu, Chana and Ganna in the flames of Holika Dahan, it leads to an increase in the auspiciousness. Using these ashes as Tilak bless you with happiness, wealth and long life. Using these ashes in your house can eliminate all kinds of negative energies and give place to more positivity in your life. It is also believed that if Holika Dahan’s ashes are kept in the locker, it can lead to an increase in your wealth. 

What is the importance of Parikrama (circumambulation)?

For Holika Pooja and Dahan Parikrama is considered one of the most essential parts. It is believed that during parikrama if you wish for something it definitely comes true. 

Using cow-dung is very crucial when it comes to Holika Dahan. How many cow-dungs one uses and what is the shape should be determined according to the beliefs and wishes of the person.

Circumambulation and cow-dungs will help make all your dreams come true. However, don’t underestimate the importance of Prasad. Whether you are planning to increase your wealth or go on a foreign trip, or you are worried about a new job or a baby, you can turn all your wishes into reality with the help of Holika Dahan.

What you should do before Holika Dahan?

  1. Before Holika Dahan, mix Sarso oil and Haldiuptan and apply on the body of all the members of your family.

  2. Once it dries, remove the Uptan and collect it on a piece of paper.

  3. Now take 5 to 11 cow-dungs, a few Sarso Daane, sugar, rice and dried coconut shell.

  4. Now take the dried coconut shells and fill them with Jaw, Till, Sarso Daane, Sugar, chawal and ghee.

  5. Now throw all these materials in the sacred fire of Holika Dahan and also throw the collected pieces of the Uptan.

  6. Before or after the Holika Dahan, light a Diya on the Northside of your house. It is believed that this brings peace and harmony to the house.

  7. Holika’s circumambulation is an important part of this festival. By doing this you can remove all kinds of problems, diseases and faults from your life. Don’t forget to do Parikrama at the time of Holika Dahan.

What you should do after Holika Dahan?

  1. Before Holika Dahan during the pooja don’t forget to put haldi Teeka.

  2. After throwing the necessary materials in the sacred fire, pray for the peace and prosperity of your household.

  3. Do 7 Parikramas and offer water. This brings prosperity to the house.

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