Holi is here and we can't help but get excited about it. The much-awaited festival is celebrated with a lot of zeal across the country. Holika Dahan or Choti Holi is a major part of this festival. This traditional ritual involves the burning of an effigy of a mythical demoness named Holika. It is an important ritual that precedes Holi. It is celebrated on the full moon night of the Phalgun month, according to the Hindu calendar. According to mythology, it's a way of celebrating Lord Vishnu's act of vanquishing Holika.
This year, Holika Dahan will be celebrated on March 17. It is the day of the full moon of the Phalgun month.
Shubh Muhurat (according to Drikpanchang)
Holika Dahan Muhurat: 9:06 pm to 10:16 pm on March 17 (1 hour, 10 minutes)
Bhadra Punchha: 9:06 pm to 10:16 pm
Bhadra Mukha: 10:16 pm on March 17 to 12:10 am on March 18
Holika Dahan sunset: 6:32 pm on March 17 — Pradosh (the period after sunset) begins
Purnima Tithi: 1:29 pm on March 17 to 12:47 pm on March 18
A Holika Dahan mantra is chanted while burning a bonfire dedicated to this ceremony. Devotees honour and pray to the spirit of Holika in order to maintain peace and happiness. The prayers are concluded by walking around the bonfire three, five, or seven times along with vessels of water. Then, devotees empty the vessels when the last circuit is complete.
After the Holika Dahan bonfire ritual, tilaks are smeared on the foreheads of devotees. Baked or roasted crops of the season are eaten. Certain devotees also carry some Holika ash to their homes as it is thought to be an auspicious practice.