Holi Pooja Process or Holika Dahan Process
Holika Dahan preparations begin almost 40 days before the festival. People start gathering woods on the important crossroads of the city. Holi Pooja or Holika takes place on an auspicious time in the evening a day before the Holi festival. Given below are the steps and rituals for the Holi Pooja:
- Holi Pooja can be performed at any place.
- A log of wood is kept at a prominent public place on the Vasant Panchami day.
- People extend the log centre with twigs, dried leaves, branches of trees and other combustible material.
- On the day of Holika Dahan, an effigy of Holika and Prahlad is placed on the huge heap of woods.
- Effigy of Holika is made of combustible material while Prahlad’s effigy is made of non-combustible material.
- On the eve of Holi, the heap is set alight and the people chant Rakshoghna Mantras of the Rig Veda to cast away the evil spirits.
- Left over ashes are collected by people next morning. These ashes are considered holy and are smeared on the limbs of the body as Holi Prasad.
- Smearing of body limbs is an act of purification.
Holi Pooja is performed in a different manner in some communities. Marwari women offer Holi puja in the afternoon and evening i.e. before setting fire to ‘Holika’. It is called ‘Thandi Holi’. The whole puja process is considered very auspicious for the married women. It ensures well-being and healthy life of their husband.