Holika Dahan is an important Hindu festival celebrated annually on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Phalguna. It precedes the festival of Holi, which celebrates the victory of good over evil.The significance of Holika Dahan lies in the mythological story of Prahlad and Holika. Prahlad was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, but his father Hiranyakashipu, who was the king of demons, vehemently opposed his devotion to Lord Vishnu, and tried to kill him several times. However, the blessings of Lord Vishnu protected Prahlad every single time.
Becoming desperate, Hiranyakashipu sought the help of his sister Holika, who had a boon that made her immune to fire. Hiranyakashipu directed Holika to sit on a pyre with Prahlad in her lap to kill the boy. But instead of Prahlad, Holika was the one consumed by the flames and perished. Hiranyakashipu too, was later slain by the half-man, half-lion avatar of Lord Vishnu, Lord Narasimha.
Thus, on the day of Holika Dahan, people gather in open spaces and light bonfires to symbolize the burning of evil, and seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu. The festival of Holika Dahan symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, truth over falsehood, and good over evil. Hindus also believe that the fumes of the fire absorbs all the negativity from the surroundings, especially within oneself and spreads positive energy.