Holi, the famous Hindu festival has its roots in Vedic mythology and is celebrated every year in the Hindu lunar month of Phalguna, which usually falls in March or April. This festival marks the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil.
One of the most popular myths associated with Holi is the story of Prahalad and Hiranyakashapu. According to Hindu mythology, the festival commemorates the story of Prahalad, a young devotee of Lord Vishnu, and his evil demon father, Hiranyakashapu.
Hiranyakashipu had a son named Prahalad, who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Prahalad’s devotion to Vishnu angered Hiranyakashipu, as Hiranyakashipu considered Lord Vishnu his staunch enemy. Because of this, he continued to scold and deter Prahalad from worshipping Lord Vishnu.
Prahalad’s continued devotion to Lord Vishnu, angered Hiranyakashapu to the point that he finally decided to kill his own son! Hiranyakashapu sister, Holika, had a boon that made her immune to fire. So, Hiranyakashapu asked Holika to sit with Prahalad in a burning pyre, thinking that she would be able to kill Prahalad.
However, when the fire was lit, Holika was burnt to ashes while Prahalad emerged unscathed. This is why the first day of Holi is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi, and it is celebrated by burning a bonfire to symbolize the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated the day before the main Holi festival. The celebration signifies the triumph of virtue over malevolence.
On the second day of Holi, people play with colors and throw colored powders and water on each other, sing, and dance, and enjoy traditional sweets and delicacies. This is called Rangwali Holi or Dhulandi.