Holika Dahan rendered Holika Dahanam in Sanskrit, is a Hindu occasion that celebrates the legend of the burning of Holika, an asuri, upon a burning pyre, and the salvation of her nephew, Prahlada. It precedes the occasion of Holi, the festival of colours, which celebrates the victory of good over evil.
In South India, this occasion is called Kama Dahanam, and is associated with the legend of Shiva burning Kamadeva with this third eye to ashes. Pantomimes of Kamadeva are performed on this occasion in rural Tamil Nadu, and his effigies are burnt
Days before the festival of Holi, people start gathering wood and combustible materials for the bonfire in parks, community centers, near temples, and other open spaces. Inside homes, people stock up on color pigments, food, party drinks and festive seasonal foods such as gujiya, mathri, malpuas, and other regional delicacies.
The night before Holi, pyres are burnt in North India, Nepal, and parts of South India in keeping with this tradition.
In some parts of North India the day is called Holika Dahan. while in other parts like Purvanchal (eastern Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar) as well as Terai regions of Nepal it is called Sammat Jaarna. Bonfires are burnt on the eve of Holi to symbolise the burning of Holika