The last Full Moon of the Hindu year marks Holi. . Though many make merry at Holi few realize its parallel to another ancient Festival – Passover.
Passover also falls on the Full Moon at spring. Since the Hebrew calendar reconciles the lunar cycles with the solar year differently, sometimes it falls on the same full moon, or sometimes the following full moon. In 2021, both Passover and Holi begin Sunday, March 28. But in 2022, Holi begins March 18 while Passover begins the following full moon. However, it is Holi Eve, or Holika Dahan, that starts the Passover similarities.
People mark Holika Dahan (Chhoti Holi or Kamudu pyre) the night before Holi begins. Holika Dahan remembers Prahlad’s virture and the burning of the rakshasi Holika. The story begins with the rakshasa king Hiranyakasyapa and his son Prahlad. Hiranyakashyapu won over the entire earth. He was so proud that he commanded everybody in his kingdom to worship only him. But to his great disappointment, his own son, Prahlad, refused to do so.
Enraged by his son’s apparent betrayal, Hiranyakashyap condemned Prahlad to death and made several attempts to kill him, but all attempts failed. From bites by poisonous serpents, to trampled by elephants, Prahlad always emerged unharmed.
Finally, Hiranyakashyapu turned to his rakshasi sister Holika. She had a cloak which made her immune to fire. So Hiranyakashyapu asked Holika to kill Prahlad by burning him. Holika sat on a pyre and, pretending friendship, coaxed young Prahlad to her lap. Then in swift betrayal, she ordered her attendants to light the pyre. However, Holika’s cloak fluttered off her to Prahlad. The flames did not burn Prahlad, while Holika burned to death for her evil scheming. Thus, Holi Dahan derives its name from Holikas’ burning.
Judas: Controlled by Treachery like Holika
The Bible portrays Satan as the ruling spirit rakashas. Like Hiranyakashyapu, Satan has been plotting to have everyone worship him, including Jesus. When that failed he set about to murder Jesus, manipulating people to do his bidding. As Hiranyakashyapu worked through Holika to strike at Prahlad, Satan used Judas on Day 5 to strike Jesus, just after Jesus taught about his return. Here is the account:
Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.Luke 22:1-6
Satan took advantage of their conflict to ‘enter’ Judas to betray Jesus. This should not surprise us. The Gospel describes Satan like this:
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.Revelation12:7-9
The Bible likens Satan to a powerful dragon cunning enough to lead the whole world astray, a mighty Rakshasa like Hiranyakashyap. He is also likened to a serpent, referring to the conflict foretold at the beginning of human history. As that ancient serpent he now coiled to strike. He manipulated Judas to destroy Jesus as Hiranyakashyap worked through Holika. As the Gospel records:
From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.Matthew26:16
Day 5 Summary
The timeline shows how on Day 5 of this week, the great rakshasa dragon, Satan, coiled to strike his foe Jesus.