HOLIKA DAHAN &HISTORY OF HOLI
Legends say it that it that there was a time when lived a brutal King named Hiranyakashyapa. This demon king Hiranyakashyapa was very cruel and thus forcefully suppressed all this subjects and make them his devotees. He tried to eliminate the existence of God from the earth and establish his own supremacy everywhere. All the citizens of his kingdom were forced to pray to Hiranyakashyapa and not to Vishnu. However his own son, Prahalad, the little never abided by his Kingdoms rule. He tried every way to stop Prahalad from worshipping Vishnu but the little devotee never stopped praying his almighty.
History of Holi
Holi is one of the most ancient festivals in India and was originally named 'Holika’. Celebrated throughout the country with immense zeal and fervor, Holi is also one of the most popular Indian festivals abroad. The celebrations of Holi differ from region to region, however the zeal and gusto with which the festival is welcomed throughout the country remains the same. It is often said that the modern form of Holi was introduced in Mathura and Vridvana by Lord Krishna himself and that is why Holi holds a special significance in the eastern part of the country. Read on this article to explore the origin as well as the history of Holi in the country.
History of Holi
The exact origin of the festival can not be found, though several historians claim that the Holi celebration in the country was brought along with the Aryans. It is also quoted as a reason that Holi is still celebrated with great zeal in the more Aryan dominant Northern and Eastern India. There is also a detailed description of this festival in early religious works such as Jaimini's Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras. Several other religious and historical texts also discuss in detail about the festival.
It is said that Holi is celebrated in India, since an immemorial time, even in the period before Christ. However, the meaning of the festival is believed to have changed over the eras and phases. Long ago, Holi was a special rite performed by married women for the happiness, well-being and prosperity of their families and the full moon (Raka) was worshiped for bringing auspiciousness and pleasure. With time the way of celebration has changes. Also, the prominent legends related to the festival have changed with time.
Holika Dahan - Science behind it!
Holi is a festival of colors - falls on the last full moon day of Falgun month according to Hindu calendar. This date corresponds to some day in the month of March.
It is celebrated because according to the Hindu mythology, it marks the death of Holika, the sister of Hrinyakashyapu, who cunningly tried to kill Prahlad, the son of Hrinyakashyapu. And hence, once again, marks the victory of the good over the evil.
Prahlad tricked by Holika
In order to project the same in the modern times, we have the culture of Holika Dahan (the downfall of Holika). Its normally done in the following way:
1. People gather wood and combustible materials for a bonfire in an open area.
2. The visitors come prepared with a garland of cowdung-cakes and cowdung bricks.
3. On top of the bonfire, they place effigies to signify Holika and Prahlad who tricked Prahalad into the fire.
4. The bonfire is then set to flames and Prahlad is pulled out of the fire - marking the end of Holika.
5. People now throw their cowdung cakes and bricks into the bonfire and perform praikrama.
6. Once the flames of the fire are huge and high, people take away a few burning cakes and bricks to their homes.
Cow dung cakes
Scientific Reason behind having such a tradition:
The festival holds significance with respect to end of winter season and the onset of the summer season. This mutation period of winter and spring induces the growth of bacteria in the atmosphere as well as in the body. When Holika is burnt, temperature rises to about 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Following the tradition when people perform Parikrama (circumambulation or going around) around the fire, the heat from the fire kills the bacteria in the body thus, cleansing it.
Usage of cowdung:
In the ancient medical system, the practice of treating diseases with the use of cowdung was highly prevalent. It is a proven fact that medicinal properties are present in the cowdung cakes and the resultant smoke that emanates after burning them.
Cowdung contains plenty of Menthol, Ammonia, Phenol, Indol, Formalin and specifically its bacteriophages eradicates the pathogens and is a recognized disinfectant.
Merely with the smell of fresh cowdung malarial fever and the pathogenic bacteria vanishes.
So, from now on, do go to Holika Dahan, and burn it. Enjoy a colourful Holi.
Happy Holi !!!
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Tuesday, March 22, 2016
HOLIKA DAHAN & HISTORY OF HOLI
Posted by Ramajayam at 12:15 PM