According to Hindu scriptures Holika Dahan, which is also known as Holika Deepak or Chhoti Holi, should be done during Pradosh Kaal (which starts after sunset) while Purnimasi Tithi is prevailing. Bhadra prevails during first half of Purnimasi Tithi and all good work should be avoided when Bhadra prevails.
There are many mythological, spiritual and social tales associated with Holika; the most popular of all being that of Prahlad and Hirnakashyap. Demon king Hirnakashyap was so haughty and immoral that he barred the people of his kingdom from praying to the lord. In order to become immortal, he started performing hard penance to please Lord Brahma. Brahma gave Hirnakashyap the following five boons: neither a human nor an animal would be able to kill him; neither he would be killed inside the door nor outside the door, neither he would be killed during the day nor at night, neither he would be killed by any Astra nor by any Shastra, neither he would be killed on the land nor in the water or in the air. After getting this boon, the demon thought himself to be nothing less than the almighty but the son born to this devil, Prahlad, was an advent devotee of Lord Vishnu. He became very angry and decided to kill his son. After a lot of attempts failed, he took helps from his sister, Holika. Hirnakashyap’s sister, Holika, was once blessed by Brahma that she will not be harmed by fore ever in her life. She had a shawl, which would protect her. She was asked by her brother to be seated in the flames with Prahlad but when the fire soared, the blessed shawl of Holika fluttered away to cover Prahlad. In this way, Prahlad lived and Holika burnt and died. This story contains a universal message – triumph of good over evil.
A day before Holi, lots of wooden sticks are gathered in the ground, and are worshiped. A thread is tied around a small piece of bread and placed on the fire. It is believed that even though the bread burns, the thread remains clean. This is a memorial of how the evil (the bread) is destroyed, while the thread (the soul ) is eternal.
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