What is Bhai Dooj?
Bhaiya Dooj or Bhai Tika is a Hindu Brother-Sister ritual and is one of the most joyously celebrated Indian festival. This Hindu festival is revered in every part of India and is also popularly known as Bhau-Beej in Maharashtra and Bhai Phonta in West Bengal.
When is Bhai Dooj Celebrated?
Bhai Dooj celebrations are a part of the 5 day long Diwali festival and comes two days after Diwali. It comes on the second day of bright fortnight or Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartika.
Why Bhai Dooj is celebrated?
Bhai Dooj is a festival that pays reverence to the bond between brothers and sisters. It is an exuberant celebration of the love and respect a brother and sister share for each other. On this day, sisters pray for a healthy, happy and safe life for their brothers who in turn shower gifts on their sisters to show their love and care. On this festival of brothers and sisters the entire family comes together and enjoy this festive day with sweets and other delicious treats.
There are many legends and stories that are associated with the origin of Bhai Dooj. It is usually believed that on this day, Lord Yama, the god of death visited his sister Yami or Yamuna. She welcomed him with 'aarti' and garlands and put 'tilak' on his forehead and offered him sweets and special dishes. Yamraj, in return, gifted her a unique present and proclaimed that on this day brothers who will receive aarti and tilak by their sister will be protected and get a long life. This is why this day is also known as 'Yama Dvitiya' or 'Yamadwitheya'. Another legend suggest that Lord Krishna after killing Narakasura, the demon king, visited his sister, Subhadra, who affectionately welcomed him with sweets, garlands, aarti and tilak.
Who Celebrates Bhai Dooj?
Bhai Dooj is a Hindu festival and is an integral part of the 5-day Diwali festival. It is celebrated majorly by Hindus across all India. In North-India, this festival is celebrated with much reverence and enthusiasm. In Maharashtra, this festival is known as Bhau-Beej and in West Bengal, it is celebrated as Bhai Ponta.
How is Bhai Dooj Celebrated?
On Bhaiya Dooj, sisters invite their brothers to their home for a luscious feast which often includes sweets and all their most loved dishes. Sisters welcome their brothers with 'aarti' and put vermilion and rice (tilak) on their forehead, offer them sweets and pray for their healthy life. While brothers bring loads of presents for their sisters with a promise to protect them for life. Women without any brother or whose brothers live far away pray to the moon or moon god worshipping the moon by performing an aarti.
In parts of Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat, this festival is known as Bhau Beej and a lot of enthusiasm is witnessed among brothers and sisters on this day. Sisters and brothers exchange gifts, close relatives and friends are invited and delicious sweets such as Basundi Poori (Maharashtra) are prepared.
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Bhai Phonta celebrations in West Bengal come with lavish celebrations and a grand feast. Sisters perform a fast until they apply 'phonta' or sandalwood paste on their brother's forehead and praying for their happy life.
Every part of India has its own traditions and rituals when it comes to celebrating this Hindu festival. However, the underlying significance and the essence is the same everywhere where the beautiful relationship between a brother and sister is celebrated.