Holika Dahan constitutes the first day ritual of the festival of
colour. Preparations for this days (also called the Chhoti Holi day)
starts much in advance. People start collecting logs of wood on the
important crossroads of the city. This results in a huge pile of wood on
the day of Holika Dahan. These logs are set to fire amidst prayers and
chanting of Vedic mantras.
Holika Dahan relives the legend of Prahlad - the devout son of the
demon King Hiranyakshyapu who wanted everybody in his kingdom to worship
him. But to the great disappointment of the King, Prahlad became a
worshiper of Lord Vishnu. Unable to tolerate his insult Hiranyakashyap
planned the murder of his own son with the help of his sister Holika who
had a boon which made her immune to fire. Holika sat on a blazing fire
with nephew Prahlad in her lap. However, by the grace of the god,
Prahlad was saved while Holika was burnt to death. The ceremony of
Holika Dahan depicts the victory of good over evil. This is why on the
pile of wood burnt on Holi an effigy of Holika is also placed.
Holi Celebrations :
Holi celebrations takes place with much enthusiasm all over the country
but there is no parallel to the Holi of Barsana and Mathura in the state
of Uttar Pradesh. These towns are associated with Lord Krishna who is
said to have started the trend of playing Holi with colours. Till date
lovers reenact the mischief played by Krishna on his beloved Radha and
other Gopis and make an expression of their love for each other.
Holi of Maharashtra and Gujarat is also quite popular. Here a pot full
of buttermilk is hung high on the street. Enthusiastic young boys form
huge pyramid to break the pot while womenfolk keep showering buckets
full of colour water on them. The atmosphere is charged with joy and
The festival of Holi is particularly enjoyed by children. They can be
seen ready with their loaded water jets called 'pichkaris' and hands
stained in colours. Children draw great fun in drenching passers by with
their funfilled mischiefs.
After a frenzied game of colour and water, people relish the delicious
gujiyas, malpuas, mathris, papdi and dahi bhalle. These lip smacking
Holi delicacies are downed with thandai laced with intoxicating bhang to
further enhance the spirit of the festival.