The tradition of Holika dahan finds its origin in the legend of Holika and Prahlad in which a demon king tried to kill his son, Prahlad, who was a true devotee of Narayana, by taking the help from his demon sister Holika, who was blessed to enter fire without being harmed.

However as soon as Holika sat on the fire with Prahlad on her lap, he was reduced to ashes as Prahlad came out unaffected.

In order to celebrate the victory of good over the evil, people set up bonfires on the night before Holi and this scene depicts brining of Holika for her own sins.

  • The perfect timing to perform Holika Dahan
  • As mentioned in Hindu scriptures and other holy books, Holika Dahan, which is also called Chhoti Holi or Holika Deepak, should be performed in Pradosh Kaal which begins right after the sunset.
  • It should be done when Purnimasi Tithi is still there.
  • However in the first half of this tithi, Bhadra prevails and carrying out auspicious and good deeds during this time is strictly forbidden.
  • It is extremely necessary to choose the correct timing for Holika Dahan and thus some rules should be followed which selecting the perfect time.
  • The best time to carry out Holika Dahan is at the time of Pradosh when Purnimasi Tithi is still there but Bhadra or the first half of this Tithi is over.
  • However if Bhadra is still there during Pradosh but comes to an end before the midnight then Holika Dahan should be carried out after the period of Bhadra has come to an end but if Bhadra gets over after the clock strikes 12 at night.
  • In that case the custom should be carried out during Bhadra and especially at the time of Bhadra Punchha.
  • The time of Bhadra Mukha should be strictly avoided and by no means should Holika Dahan and its customs be carried out during that particular time.
  • If Holika Dahan is done during Bhadra Mukha, it could bring misfortune and sheer bad luck not on for that area but for the entire nation for that entire year.
  • In many occasions, Bhadra Punchha does not fall between midnight and Pradosh, in such occasions Holika Dahan should be performed during Pradosh.
  • However in rare cases neither Bhadra Punchha nor Pradosh is available for carrying out the customs then Holika Dahan should be performed after Pradosh is over.
  • It is critical to choose the correct timing for Holika Dahan but it is extremely important to choose the perfect one and no other festival timing requires such critical analysis.
  • This is because doing a puja in an improper time will just not reap the benefits of it but performing Holika Dahan at a wrong time will bring about bad luck and suffering for the entire country for one whole year.
  • In this festival of Holika Dahan people stack up twigs and dried grasses and set it ablaze.
  • Then they go around the bonfire in circles throwing cow dung at the blazing fire and hurling insults as they consider Holika burning in that fire with all her evil forces.