Once upon a time there was a egoistic king called Hiranyakashyap who ruled over a kingdom on earth and commanded everyone in this kingdom to worship only him. But to his disappointed, his son, Prahlad devotee of Lord Naarayana and refused to worship his father. Hiranyakashyap made several attempts to kill his son but every time Lord Vishnu saved him.
Hiranyakashyap’s sister had a boon and could walk in fire without being scathed. At last he asked his sister, Holika to walk in the fame of fire with Prahlad in her lap. She coaxed young Prahlad to sit in her lap and herself settled in the booming fire. Little did she know , the boon only worked when she walked in fire alone.
Prahlad kept on chanting the Lord Vishnu’s name and came out unharmed, as the Lord blessed him with his extreme devotion. Holi derives it’s name from Holika. And, is celebrated as a festival of victory of good over evil.
In many parts of the country people enact the scene of ‘ Holika’s burning to ashes’ every year to mark the victory of good over evil. Unwanted woods and leaves, old furniture and cow dung is used to make holika.
On the last day of Holi, people take a little fire from the bonfire to their homes. It is believed that by following this custom their homes will be rendered pure and their bodies will be free from disease. At several places there is also a tradition of cleaning homes, removing all dirty articles from around the house and burning them. Disease-breeding bacteria are thereby destroyed and the sanitary condition of the locality is improved.