Holi the festival of colors will be celebrated on 13th of March in 2017. It is the spring festival celebrated across the country to welcome the full moon day in spring or Falgun (February-March). Holi celebrations go on for two days. On day one, it is ‘Holika Dahan’ (Holika bonfire) or Chhoti Holi and the second day is Dhuleti, Dhulandi or Dhulivandan where people play with colors and share festive recipes. The Holi festival symbolizes the conquest of the auspicious over inauspicious and good over evil. It is also a day to celebrate with your loved ones and family.
Muhurata of Holi Date and Time
In 2017, Holi festival will be celebrated on 13th of March, Monday. However, Holika Dahan is celebrated the night before, that is, on Sunday, 12th of March. Choosing the right time (auspicious Muhurata) for Holika Dahan is important as this is the time to burn all bad karmas by praying deeply at the bonfire. Holika Dahan Muhurata is on 12th of March as follows:
• Start - 18:43 (6:23 PM) • End - 20:23 (8:23 PM) • Duration - 1 hr 39 mins
Muhurat of Dahan is determined on the basis of Purnima and Bhadra. Holika Dhahan is never to be done during Bhadra but during Pradosha while Purnima tithi prevails. Ideally, this should be done after Bhadra is over. This year, the Bhadra times are from 04:11 and 05:23 am and Bhadra Mukha is from 05:23 am and 07:23 am. Performing Dahan during Bhadra leads to bad luck and sufferings.
This festival is celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil. In the Bhagvata Purana, it is mentioned that the earth was once ruled by the demonic king Hiranyakashipu whose sister’s name was Holika. He wanted to exact revenge on Lord Vishnu who slayed his brother. Therefore, he performed the severest penance to please Lord Brahma. Brahma is known for bestowing superhuman powers to anyone who pleases him through the tapasyas (penances).
Empowered by Lord Brahma, the demonic king Hiranyakashipu started committing atrocities against villagers and the saintly people who worshiped Vishnu. His son Prahlad grew up to be a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and this matter pricked the King a great deal.
To kill Prahlad, he asked his sister Holika to burn him down. Holika wore her enigmatic cloak and tricked the boy into getting in her lap while she sat on a pyre. She knew the cloak would protect her from the fire. But on this occasion, Agni, the Fire god who is a devotee of Lord Vishnu blew away her cloak while Vishnu tattvas (cosmic elements of cold and goodness) protected the boy Prahlad, who was constantly praying to Lord Vishnu. Holika died at the hands of the Lord, who later incarnated as Narasimha (Half lion and half superhuman) and killed the cruel king Hiranyakashipu.
Hence on Holi, people offer prayers to Lord Vishnu who incarnated as Narasimha to rid the world of cruelty and injustice. Devotees chant the Vishnu Sahasranama, one of the most sacred strotras in Hinduism to worship the Lord.
Performance of Holika Dahan signifies the defeat and burning up of the evil or inauspicious elements. The night before Dhuleti is the time for lighting up the bonfire, which is a warning to all negative elements in the cosmic atmosphere. People perform Holika Dahan in these ways:
Collecting wood and other combustible materials to set up the heap of those materials for lighting the bonfire. Bonfires can be lit at public places or open spaces or even near temples.
Installing the effigies of Holika keeping Prahlada in her lap on top of the heap. (the effigy of Holika is made of combustible materials whereas that of Prahlada is non-combustible)
Then, those materials are set to fire on the night of Phalgun Purnima and various prayers are offered to Agni (Fire). People chant rakshoghna mantras from the Rig Veda while walking around the bonfire and offer coconut. These half-burnt coconuts are then taken as Prasadam (holy offering).
On the next day, people play Dhuletii, a colourful Holi with waters with pichkaris (water guns) and balloons filled with water. Colored water is sprinkled on others in festive spirit. Dhuleti means ‘throwing of mud’, ‘Dhul’ means ‘sand’, ‘mud’ and ‘eti’ means ‘the practice of performing an activity’. Hence, it means throwing colorful sand over each other.
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