This year Holika Dahan is on 19th March, 2011.
The Mahurat for Holika Dahan
Holika Dahan's auspicious Mahurat is from 1843hrs to 2130hrs IST. Holika Dahan is being done at the after evening in the absence of 'Bhadra Ascendant'. In case of performing Holika Dahan in 'Bhadra Ascendant' there is a chances of malignancy in the Nation and City becomes disturbed.
Preparation and the Procedure to Perform Holika Dahan
First, clean the place of Holika Dahan. The place of Holika Dahan should be mopped with the fresh-cow-dung. Place one thick bamboo stick in the middle of the place and then offer the Sycamore Garland to that bamboo. Place the shield, sward and toys made of cow-dung around that bamboo. Take out four Sycamore Garland on the name of your Ancestors, Lord Hanuman, Goddess Shitla and for your home. If Holika Dahan is not performed at your home, take all the worshiping material to the nearby place from your home and do it there.
Now, offer water, coconut to that place of Holika Dahan and after worshiping, lit the fire. Take the round of that place and offer Papad, Boot (raw Gram branches), Dry Fruits, Shugar Cane. After roasting the offerings distribute in all and have it also as Prasad. Bring back the Shugar Cane to home and if you are performing Holika Dahan at place, you must bring the fire from the main Holika Dahan place and lit the fire from that only.
At home, male members first worship the Holi and then lit the fire on it, when fire starts burning properly take out the bamboo from the fire. This bamboo represents the Bhakt Prahlad. The female members of the family should play the bell and offer water to the fire for seven times and then offer roli and rice.
The girl who has married on the same year should not see the Holika Dahan at her In-laws house, she should go to her Parents house for Holi, it is inauspicious for her.
The Story of Holika Dahan
Once upon a time there was a demon king and his name was Hiranyakashyap and he was ruling over the earth. He was very domination and egoistic and he has publicly announced that he is the only God of the earth and everyone should only worship him. But, he was very disappointed by his own son Prahlad who was an ardent devotee of the Lord Vishnu. He refused to worship Hiranyakashyap, his father.
Hiranyakashyap decided to kill his son to maintain his ruler-ship on the earth. He tried several ways to kill Prahlad but was fail every time because each time Lord Vishu saved him. Hiranyakashyap's sister Holika has the boon that if she would enter in a fire she will come out unharmed. So, Hiranyakashyap took his sister's help to kill Prahalad.
Holika coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and then she entered into the blazing fire. Holika's sinister desire could not come true and she had to pay the priced of this sin. She was unaware that her boon will only work for her if she would enter into fire alone. When she entered into the fire with Prahlad, he was continuously chanting the name of Lord Vishnu while entering the fire and Lord Vishnu again saved him; where Holika, without her boon was converted into the ashes soon.
Thus, Holika Dahan has been celebrated since then to win over the sinister desires and acts or victory of good over evil. Holi is also celebrated as the triumph of a devotee.