Signalling the end of India’s winter season and the arrival of spring, Holi is coming soon to mark that auspicious moment. However, for this blog today, we are going to be diving deep into a story that tells the tale of faith, true belief and a miracle. On the occasion of Holika Dahan 2023, read up on the incredibly true story of the Demon King Hiranyakashyapu & his son, Prahlad.
What Does ‘Holika’ Mean?
The word ‘Holika Dahan’ originates from two words – “Holika” which is the name of a demoness in Hindu mythology, and “Dahan” which means burning.
Holika Dahan is the ritual burning of a bonfire, which symbolizes the victory of good over evil. The flames from the fire purify the air and the surrounding environment and also ward off evil spirits.
Even the ashes from the bonfire are considered holy. In many parts of the country, people believe that if you take home some bonfire ash, it brings you good luck.
Why Do We Celebrate Holika Dahan?
The story behind Holika Dahan is quite interesting, to say the least. This festival is a recreation of an epic story that happened a really long time ago, back when gods used to manifest physically and the world was open to cosmic visitations on a regular basis. But what is the story behind this festival and how come after centuries and centuries, we are still celebrating it will such fervour?
Know everything about the incredible tale of Holika Dahan 2023:
The Story Behind Holika Dahan
The festival is also known as Choti Holi, Holika Deepak, and Kamudu Pyre. It is primarily celebrated in North India where this festival has both mythological and historical significance.
Holika Dahan has a mythological significance and is associated with King Hiranyakashipu and his son Prahlad.
Demong King Hiranyakashyapu
According to the mythological story, King Hiranyakashipu was a powerful demon king who had received a boon from Lord Brahma that made him invincible. He became arrogant and started considering himself a God.
The boon that he asked from God Brahma was that —
- he would not die at the hands of any being created by Brahma;
- he would not perish inside or outside;
- he couldn’t be killed during the day or night;
- he couldn’t be conquered by any weapon, on the earth or in the sky, by men or beasts, devas or asuras and that he be unequalled, that he possess undiminishing power, and that he be the one ruler of all creation;
Prahlad, The God Worshipping Son Of Hiranyakashyapu
But, his son Prahlad was a devout follower of Lord Vishnu, which made King Hiranyakashipu furious. Even though being his father, the king tried to kill Prahlad many times but failed, as Prahlad was always protected by Lord Vishnu.
Finally, King Hiranyakashipu asked his sister Holika, who had the boon of being immune to fire, to help destroy Prahlad.
Holika’s Plan To Destroy Prahlad
Holika agreed and planned to kill her nephew by fire. She took Prahlad into her lap and sat in a bonfire. It is said that Holika was blessed with immunity against fire which led her to think that she would remain unscathed.
But, to her surprise, Prahlad emerged from the fire unharmed, while Holika was burnt to ashes.
Did A Saree Save Prahlad From Being Burnt?
Another story goes that Holika was wearing fire-proof saree-like clothing which would protect her from being burnt. But a gust of wind blew it away from Holika’s skin and the saree clung to Prahlad’s body, saving him from being burnt alive.
Whatever the real story, this incident signifies the victory of good over evil and the end of Holika’s evil ways.
The Killing Of King Hiranyakashyapu
Lord Vishnu later takes the form of Lord Narasimha, who is half human and half lion. In addition, while standing in the middle of a door, he slaughters Hiranyakashipu on his lap. It puts an end to the king’s evilness.
The story serves as a reminder that everyone is equal and should be treated as such, regardless of physical differences, and it also encourages those who celebrate Holi to be humble, kind, and tolerant in the face of adversity.
Various Rituals Followed During Holika Dhahan
People start gathering wood and other flammable materials for the bonfire a few days before the celebration. The ignitable materials are then gathered in public areas such as parks, squares, colonies, or other open spaces. According to custom, a Holika structure is placed on the pyre to be burned.
During the Vedic period, the sacred fire of Holi was burned after chanting some mantras to eradicate and destroy evil forces. Many people believe Holika Utsav is named after fried oats, cereals, or dried grains known as “Holka” in Sanskrit. These dry grains were used in “hawana,” a popular fire ritual.
The “vibhuti” – sacred ashes from this Dahan – were spread on the heads of those who took part in the ceremony to destroy evil. “Bhumi Hari” is the name of this vibhuti. It is still customary to throw oat and wheat-like bajra into the Holika fire. So, if you’re wondering what to put in Holika Dahan 2023, here’s your answer!
Holika Dahan Puja
The Holika Dahan ritual begins on Muhurat. However, devotees begin preparing wood for the bonfire several days before the celebration.
There are a few special Holika Dahan offerings.
- Water, flower garlands, Roli, rice jaggery, whole turmeric, moong, bachas, Gulal, coconut, myrrh, flowers, raw cotton, and so on are examples.
- Keep some new crops and other cow dung toys near Holika for the offering.
- Worship Holika with water, molly, flowers, and jaggery when the auspicious Muhurat of Holika Dahan begins.
- Wrap the raw yarn around the Holika three or seven times more.
- Following that, offer pure water and everything else to Holika.
- Begin burning the Holika after sunset, during the Pradosha Kaal.
- You can bring the ashes of the Holika to your home once it has finished burning. It brings good fortune to the environment.
How To Celebrate Holika Dahan Ritual?
On the eve of Holika Dahan, people light a bonfire and burn Holika’s effigies to symbolise the destruction of evil. The bonfire is made of wood, dried leaves, and twigs and is lit at night after puja is performed.
People celebrate Holi the next day, also known as Rangwali Holi or Phagwah. It is a colour festival, and people smear coloured powder and water on each other. They also exchange sweets and greetings and pay visits to friends and family.
The Holika Dahan 2023 festival is about spreading love, happiness, and togetherness as well as celebrating the triumph of good over evil. It is a time to put aside differences and come together to celebrate the Holi spirit.
The festival serves as a reminder that no matter how strong evil appears to be, it can always be defeated by the power of good.
Saree Swag Tips For Holika Dahan:
Here are some tips to make your Holika Dahan night special with a saree –
Choose a brightly coloured saree:
Holika Dahan is a festival of colors, so it’s best to wear sarees that are vibrant and bright. You can opt for sarees in colors like red, orange, yellow, and pink or simply wear a floral saree for the perfect vibe hit!
At Chhapaayi, you can get all your favourite prints in one place and for a festival like Holi, there is no other brand where you will get more festival-appropriate sarees 🙂
Go for a lightweight saree:
Since Holika Dahan 2023 is celebrated during the month of March when the weather can be hot and humid, it’s best to choose sarees made of lightweight fabrics such as cotton, chiffon, and georgette. This will keep you comfortable throughout the night. For example, all our sarees from
Experiment with different draping styles:
There are many ways to drape a saree, so why not experiment with different styles? You can try the classic Nivi drape or go for a more modern style like the lehenga style drape or the butterfly drape.
Suggested Read: 10 Different Styles of Saree Draping You Must Know
Choose sarees with traditional prints:
Holika Dahan is a festival that celebrates tradition and culture, so it’s best to choose sarees with traditional prints such as Bandhani, Patola, or Banarasi. These sarees will add a touch of elegance and grace to your look.
Also, by following these tips, you can look your best and celebrate Holika Dahan 2023, night in style.
Accessorize your print saree with jewellery:
Complete your look with traditional jewellery such as jhumkas, bangles, and a statement necklace. You can also wear a maang tikka or a nose ring for a more traditional look. On the day of Holi though, go for a jewellery-free look and wear as comfortable a saree as you can.
Keep it simple:
Keep your makeup and hair simple and let your saree be the centre of attention. You can opt for a simple bun or a sleek ponytail and go for minimal makeup with a bold lip color.
Wear comfortable footwear:
Finally, don’t forget to wear comfortable footwear. Since Holika Dahan is celebrated outdoors, you’ll be on your feet for a while, so opt for comfortable flats or sandals.
Get Ready For Holika Dahan 2023 With Chhapaayi Sarees:
Holi is just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about your festive look. If you’re a fan of this festival and a fan of sarees, then you need not look further than Chhapaayi Sarees.
We have an amazing collection of sarees that are perfect for Holika Dahan 2023, and shopping for them is easier than you think.
When it comes to Holi, emotions run high. It’s a time for celebration, love, and togetherness. Chhapaayi understands this and has created a collection of sarees that embody the spirit of the festival. Each of our saree is unique, and wearing one on Holi will make you feel special and connected to the celebration.
As you browse through the collection, take a moment to think about what you want your look to represent. Do you want to go for something bold and vibrant, or something more subtle and traditional? Whatever your preference, we have something for you.
Holika Dahan is a time when people put aside their differences and come together to celebrate the triumph of good over evil. As we celebrate this festival, let us remember the story behind it and strive to live our lives with righteousness, compassion, and love.
Shopping for your favourite Holi looks from Chhapaayi is a wonderful way to connect with the festival emotionally and practically.
By taking the time to consider your personal preferences, budget, and practical needs, you can find the perfect saree to make your Holi celebration even more special. So start browsing, have fun, and happy Holi!
Chhapaayi Sarees wishes everyone a happy and prosperous Holika Dahan!