The Legend Behind Holi and Its Rituals  

The Legend Behind Holi and Its Rituals  

As soon as you read the word "Holi', it induces joy, delight, and an image of colors flying in the air. Celebrated across the country with zeal and grandeur, Holi is the ultimate bringer of prosperity and joy. Also known as Phagwah or Phalgun Mahotsav, Holi occurs in Phalgun (March) as per the Sanatan Calendar or Panchang. Holi is celebrated uniquely in different regions of India. In Uttrakhand, people celebrate this day with Kumaoni Dance, whereas in Vrindavan, people gather in the famous 'Lathmar Holi. No matter how diverse are the ways of celebrations, Holi serves the single purpose of uniting society.   

People perform the Holika Puja during this time, eradicating all the fears. Holika Puja bestows us with strength, prosperity, and courage. Devotees believe that Demoness Holika came into existence to repel worry and evil. Therefore, Holika, too, is worshiped along with Prahlada before performing the Dahan. The story behind these rituals is as interesting as the festival of Holi. This blog will tell you more about the historical significance of the festival and the practices of the Puja.   

The legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakashipu

The history of this festival has its mention in multiple scriptures of Santan Dharma. This legend begins with the story of ambitious demon king Hiranyakashipu, who wanted to kill Lord Vishnu to avenge his brother Hiranyakasha. Interestingly, in their previous birth, both Hiranyakashipu, and Hiranayaksha guard Vishnu's abode, 'Vaikuntha.'  

The arrogance of Hiranyakashipu and the wrath of Holika

Lord Brahma gave Hiranyakashipu godly powers, which made him nearly undefeatable. In his pursuit of eliminating Lord Vishnu, he started annihilating temples and forcing everyone to worship him. He had the entire kingdom in his control, but his son, Prahlad, was a devotee of Vishnu. Consumed by revenge and anger, Hiranyakashipu conspired to kill his son. In the same pursuit, Hiranyakashipu took the help of his sister, Holika. Demoness Holika had a special cloak that made her immune to fire. She tricked him into sitting on a pyre with her. Holika protected herself with a veil, while Prahlad remained exposed to the wire. The cloak flew from Holika's body with the blaze of fire and enveloped Prahlad. With this, Prahlad was saved, and Holika was burnt into ashes. This event is reenacted every year by thousands of Devotees each year in the name of Holika Dahan.  

The Avatar of Narasimha and the elimination of Hiranyakashipu   

Hiranyakashipu couldn't be killed because Lord Brahma blessed him with powers that made him unconquerable. He couldn't be killed by a human, god, or animal, and he wasn't to be killed in or outside his house. Furthermore, the wrath of death wouldn't see Hiranyakashipu in the air nor on the ground. In addition, Lord Brahma blessed him with immunity from any weapon, and no one could kill him day or night. Blessed with such layered powers, Hiranyakashipu was next to unbeatable. However, Lord Vishnu arrived on earth in the Avatar of Narsimha, half man and half lion. Narsimha dragged Hiranyakashipu on his threshold and killed him by taking him on his knees, tearing apart Hiranyakashipu's torso. This way, Narsimha kills Hiranyakashipu and marks the day to eliminate evil.   

Rituals and traditions of Holi 

The rituals performed in Holi vary from region to region. However, the practice of Holika Dahan is performed widely amongst Hindus. Before the Dahan, a puja is also performed. In this, rice, garland, moong, and coconut are offered to the relic of Holika. People pray with mantras that ask Holika to help them overcome their fears and problems. A public bonfire set-up is prepared to gather and perform the ritual collectively. The fire from the public bonfire is brought home to burn Holika. People circumambulate Holika and offer new crops to the bonfire and roast them. The roasted grains are distributed as Holika Prasad. On the day of wet Holi, the ash from the bonfire is collected and smeared on the body. The ash is considered pious, and it is believed that the body and soul receive purity after applying it.   

If you are seeking efficient and smooth Puja in Holi, reach out to the team of Vaikunth. We offer unmatched puja services and the essential samagri and a learned Pandit for the same. 

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