As we speak, Hindus all over the world are igniting bonfires and thus commemorating the death of the witch Holika.
To understand this, let us go back in time. The following story knows quite a few variations, but hey this is India with 1.2 billion people and a religion that is considered to be the oldest in the world. So in a colourful time as Holi one should allow for an equally colourful array of stories regarding the story of witch Holika.
Once upon a time there was the brutal King Hiranyakashyapa. He wanted to be revered as a God himself and establish his own supremacy everywhere. However, his own son, Prahalad refused and continued to pray to Lord Vishnu instead.
Out of frustration and anger, the demon king then decided to kill his son. Despite all his efforts, Prahalad remained safe by the blessings of Lord Vishnu. Finally, the Hiranyakashyapa called in the help of his cruel sister Holika. Legend has it that Holika was blessed with a drape which protected her from burning into fire. As per the plan made by the brother and sister, the demon princess Holika sat with young Prahalad in a huge bowl of fire wearing the drape over her body.
But this time, due to heavy wind the drape came over young Prahalad, saving him from burning and as a result Holika was burnt in fire and thus died on the spot.
This incident thus re-established the faith of people in the ultimate divine power and is thus celebrated as the day of eternal love, devotion, blessings and the victory of Good over Evil.
Holi is also the time of vibrant Love, such as the one between Lord Krishna and Radha.
Picture credits: press agency Reuters