Fire, along with earth, wind, water and sky has long been considered one of the ancient elements. It holds an important place in history.
Fire can destroy and purify at the same time. The embers that create a cozy and comforting fireplace can also cause destruction in nature. It can burn the ground, and cleanse the earth.
The cleansing force of fire is considered holy in many cultures around the world. From the Greek to the Iranian and the Romans to the Celtic, people from all corners of the world hold fire in an important place in their religions and rituals.
In the Hindu culture in particular, fire is considered a creative and cleansing force. It can herald the beginning of a season in the spring time festival of colour, Holi. Or it can form the entire festival itself – like the January harvest celebration of Lohri that sees neighbourhoods come together around a bonfire to celebrate the end of winter.
In India fire is considered a liberation and cleansing of the spirit, and often times it represents a fresh start and brand new beginnings. That’s why it forms a significant part of the prayer that is done to celebrate big life events like the birth of a baby, the start of a new venture or even the launch of an online magazine. During the time of the holy fire, time is spent to honour those who may have passed and seek their blessings in the upcoming celebration.
It’s quite wonderful really how fire can hold such diverse meanings for many people aorund the world.