Why Holi is Celebrated?
Holi gets its name from Holika, demon king Hiranyakashyap’s sister. Hiranyakashyap had got a boon from Lord Vishnu that he would not be killed by man or animal, at day or night, inside or outside, above or on the ground.
So Hiranyakashyap said that only he should be worshipped, not God. His own son, Prahlad continued to worship Lord Vishnu. This made his father angry. He asked Prahlad to jump from a mountain, but he remained unhurt.
Even when Hiranyakashyap made Prahlad jump in a well, he was unharmed.
Hiranyakashyap tried to poison Prahlad. The poison turned to nectar in Prahlad’s mouth.
Then, Hiranyakashya ordered that wild elephants should trample Prahlad, but he was not hurt.
Next, Prahlad was put in a room with poisonous, angry snakes, but still nothing happened to him.
Finally, Hollka made Prahlad sit on a pyre with her. She was protected by a shawl that kept her from being burnt. The shawl flew from her to Prahlad. So, Holika burned, Prahlad was safe.
Lord Vishnu appeared as half-man, half-lion and killed Hiranyakashyap at dusk, on his porch steps.
A Holika bonfire is lit every year to remind us of the victory of good over evil. Holi is celebrated on the day after the bonfire.
Click here to watch the story of Holi in Hindi!