Holi or Holika

Holi or Holika, also called Holikotsava, is an extremely popular festival observed throughout India. Popularly associated with Sri Krishna, the festival is mentioned in very early religious texts such as Jaimini’s Purva-mimamsa-sutras and Kathaka-grihya-sutras.

Holi Celebration

The day after Phalguna-Purnima is observed as a day of festivity, especially when people throw one another colored powder or colored water. Sri Krishna is said to have popularized this revelry by playing pranks on the gopis. In Bengal, the festival is observed as Dol Purnima or Dol Yatra.

There are no austere religious observances on this day. Generally, a log of wood is kept in a prominent public place. People throw twigs of trees onto that log, which gradually grows into a sizeable heap. On the night just before the Phalguna-Purnima day, it is set to fire to a simple ceremony.


According to the Puranas, Lord Shiva opened his third eye on this day and reduced Kamadeva to ashes. Therefore, the Holi festival involves setting fire to a woodpile. 

Another story is that Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, had agnisiddhi, i.e., she could not be burnt by fire. On her brother’s orders, she tried to kill his son Prahlada by taking him on her lap and sitting on a pyre of wood. But she was reduced to ashes, and Prahlada was unhurt. Firewood is burnt in memory of this. 

The third story is that of an ogress called Dhundhi, who, in the reign of King Raghu in Satyayuga, killed children. She had obtained a boon by which she could not be killed by young or old men, devatas, or any animal. So the king sent some boys to capture her. They lit a big fire and danced frenziedly, shouting and abusing Dhundhi. Frightened, she left the human world forever. In memory of this came the practice of Holi fire.

Why Hindu

We, a group of youths born into Hindu families, were raised in the rich culture of Vedic Sanatan Dharma, embracing its cultures and traditions. Post-graduation, recognizing the immense value of our Sanatan Dharma for humanity, we initiated the "Why Hindu" project. With guidance from our elders, we aim to create awareness about Hindu Dharma, delve into Vedic scripture, explore Vedic mantras, and elucidate the significance of festivals. Through this endeavor, we strive to share the profound teachings of our heritage, fostering understanding and appreciation for the timeless principles of Sanatan Dharma.

Recent Posts