Holi is one of the most jubilant and exciting colorful festival of India which encourages the message of unity and brotherhood. Holi is celebrated at the approach of the vernal equinox on the Phalgun Poornima (Full Moon). Holi is a two day festival where the eve of Holi is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi or Kamudu pyre is celebrated by burning Holika, and thus Holi gets its name.
The second day of Holi marks the beginning of spring season, which is why it is also denoted as the ‘Spring Festival of India’. The main attraction of the festival is lots of colors, and zeal and also known as ‘Dhulundi or Dhulivandan’.
Holi rituals in Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Nandagaon and Barsana – are the most famous one. The Lathmar Holi is world famous in Barsana .
When is it observed?
Holika Dahan is a religious ritual observed by Hindus as part of celebrating Holi. It should be done during ‘Pradosh Kaal’ (which starts after sunset) while Poornimasi Tithi (Full moon) is prevailing. The auspicious event of lighting the pyre of Holika must not be performed before sunset.
Holika Dahan is observed on Wednesday 23rd March 2016 on Full moon night (Poornima) of Phalgun month as per the Hindu lunar calendar.
Holika Dahan Muhurat Time: 06:29 PM to 08:52 PM
Holika Pooja is a Vedic ritual and getting observed since ages. Religiously, it is very significant day as Prahlad the ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu was miraculously saved while his aunt Holika was burnt in huge bonfire meant to kill Prahlad. Hence, every-year Holika is burnt as a symbol of all evils in the society; hence the Holika Pooja is performed.
It is also believed on this day Lord Shiva turned Kaam Dev (Manmadha) to ashes, who risked his life to revoke Lord Shiva from meditation and save the world.
Holi festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter and is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest. This festival also marks the beginning of the New Year as well as an occasion to reset and renew ruptured relationships, end conflicts and rid themselves of accumulated emotional impurities from the past.
Rituals and Celebrations
The bonfire of Holika Dahan is burnt on the night of the Holi festival to indicate a destruction of all evil by all that is good. The day is also popularly called Chhoti Holi (small Holi). Some people also smear the ashes left from the fire the next day, as a kind of purification of the body since the ashes are considered to be holy.
The whole pooja process is considered very auspicious for the married women. It ensures well-being and healthy life of their husband. By offering many things to Holika, women seek blessing for the prosperity and health for the whole year in their home.
People prepare festive seasonal foods such as gujiya, mathri, Thandai and malpuas and other regional delicacies.