Introduction: The festival symbolizing love and affection between brother and sister is popularly known as Bhai Dooj. Apart from ‘Raksha Bandhan’, this is a specific occasion when both, brother and sister, share warm gestures with each other. Sister smears ‘Tilak’ on the forehead of her brother and in return the brother exchanges gift of precious and matchless love.

Occurrence:  The sacred festive of ‘Bhau-Beej’ falls on the last day of the grand Diwali festival, i.e. the second day of the bright fortnight or Shukla Paksha as per Hindu month of Kartika.

Regional names:

  • Bhai Phota (in Bengal)
  • Bhai Bij or Bhau-beej or Bhav Bij in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.
  • Bhai Tika in Nepal
  • Ningol Chakuba in Manipur
  • Yamadwitheya or Yamadvitiya
  • Bhai Dooj
  • Bhathru Dwithiya
  • Bhai Tika
  • Bhatri Ditya

Legend:

  • The legend related to Bhai Dooj has its root in the era when lord Vishnu incarnated in the face of lord Krishna. According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Krishna went to his sister Subhadra subsequent to killing demon Narkasur. His sister gave him a warm welcome while admiring him with sweets and flowers. She affectionately anointed a ‘tilak’ on his forehead. Since then, the practice of following similar ritual has been in trend till now. Thus, it is believed to be the origin of the festival.
  • Other legend conveys that Yamaraj- ‘the God of Death’ went to his sister Yami on this auspicious day. On the arrival of her lovable brother, Yami anointed ‘tilak’ on his forehead; put a garland of blossoms around his neck and welcomed him with special dishes. Both, brother and sister enjoyed the hearty meal while spending some valuable moments with each other. Yamraj gifted a special ‘souvenir’, that is the token of love on his return. And Yami also showed her sincere affection for her brother through giving some gifts to him. Appeased and pleased brother by the gleeful gesture of his sister Yami, ‘Yamaraj’ proclaimed that anyone who is anointed on the same pious occasion will never be encountered with any danger. Since that day, the festival namely ‘Yama Dwitiya’ came into fashion as customary tradition.

The ways of celebration: The celebration begins with the consumption of heartily meal including some mouth-watering dishes. This occasion signifies the brotherly protection of his sister as well as the auspicious blessings of sister for her brother.

Smearing ‘tilak’ using vermillion and rice on the forehead of the brother, sister performs the very first rite of this festival. Following to it, she performs the ‘Aarti’ of her brother in a typical religious way. While doing aarti, she silently prays to god- “May god bless him the longest and pleasant life full of luxuries, comfort and prosperity!” The brother pours out his love as his ‘sincere gesture’ before her while touching her feet. He gifts money or some other valuables to her as well.

In Haryana & Maharashtra, females, deprived of their brother, perform puja of the ‘moon-god’ while following the foregone ritual in traditional customary style. They decorate their hands with beautiful henna designs.