Legend says that there was an Ogress called Pootana. Once, Lord Krishna’s devil uncle Kansa sought the help of Pootana to kill the infant Krishna by feeding him poisonous milk.
Pootana then disguised herself as a simple and pious woman and treacherously tried to fed baby Krishna with her poisoned breast. However, Lord Krishna sucked the blood that revealed the monster behind that pious woman and laid her to death.
In some parts of our country, on the night before Holi, people burn an effigy of Pootana – the Ogress who tried to kill Lord Krishna. The tradition symbolizes the victory of divinity over demonic forces. It also symbolizes the end of winter and darkness – as typified by Pootana.