Holi is one of the most famous Hindu festivals. Holi is part of the Hindu religious festival Holika Dahan. Traditionally Holi is played on the next day of Holika Dahan. All religious rituals related to Holi Parva, including burning the effigy of demoness Holika, are performed on the previous day of Holi. Hence the day which precedes Holi is known as Holika Dahan as well as Choti Holi i.e. the small Holi day.
Holika Puja and Holika Dahan is a Vedic ritual and getting observed since ages. Religiously, it is very significant day as Prahlada the ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu was saved while his aunt Holika was burnt in huge bonfire meant to immolate Prahlada. Hence, every-year Holika is burnt as a symbol of all evils in the society. However, in modern India, Holi is considered the festival of colors, joy and merriment.
The demoness Holika, the sister of demon Hiranyakashipu, and Prahlada, the devotee of Lord Vishnu, are the main deities of Holi.
The demoness Holika getting worshipped along with devotee Prahlada is one of the mysterious rituals of Hinduism. Please refer why Holika is worshipped? to understand the mystery of worshipping demoness Holika who tried to kill child devotee of Lord Vishnu.
Holi is celebrated as per Hindu lunar calendar. The day of Holika Dahan coincides with the full moon day during the Hindu month of Phalguna which is popularly known as Phalguna Purnima. The next day of Holika Dahan is observed as Holi.
At most places, Holi is two days long festival.
Numerous rituals are followed during Holi. These rituals vary from state to state and within a state region to region. However,
are the most important rituals which are observed during Holi festivities.
Holi is mainly celebrated in North Indian states. Holika Dahan is referred to Kama Dahanam in South India.
Holi is not a compulsory Gazetted Holiday in India. However, in most North Indian states one day holiday is observed on the day of Holi.