According to Hindu mythology, the term "Holi" has been derived from "Holika", the evil sister of demon king Hiranyakashyap. The king used to consider himself a God and wanted everyone to worship him, but his son Prahlad used to worship Lord Vishnu.


Thus, to get rid of him, the king asked his sister Holika to enter a blazing fire with his son Prahlad on her lap. Holika had a cloak that could save her from getting burnt; as a result only Prahlad would get burnt. But the innocent boy's devotion to Lord Vishnu saved him, while Holika paid the price for her evil desire. Since then, the tradition of burning Holika or "Holika Dahan" is prevalent on the eve of the main festival.

This pooja takes place a day before the Holi. People light bonfires to celebrate the victory of 'good' over 'bad' which is called Holika Dahan. It is also popularly known as 'Chhoti Holi'.