Bhai Dooj, is a Hindu festival celebrated in India and Nepal. This is celebrated during the Diwali or Tihar festival, which is the most popular festival in India and Nepal. This festival is celebrated in the month of Kartik, according to the Hindu calendar. The rituals followed and celebrations of this day are similar to that of other popular celebration named, ‘Raksha Bandhan’. On this special occasion, brother gift their sisters with many gifts and in return sisters feed their brothers sweets.
This day is celebrated in remembrance of the ancient myth. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna defeats Narakasura on Diwali and visits her sister Subhadara. And during his visit, Subhadra welcomed her brother with sweets and flowers. Also, she applied ‘Tilak’, on his forehead as a sign of victory. And this is said to be the beginning of this ritual.
Different Names in Different Regions:
This ritual is celebrated in many regions, including India and Nepal. And the naming differs for each location. Some of the names are as follows.
- Bhai Dooj: This is celebrated in the Northern part of India and observed during the Diwali season. Two days after Diwali, this ritual is celebrated. This ritual is also celebrated by Awadhis in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, etc.
- Bhai Tika: In Nepal, this ritual is considered as the most important festival after ‘Dashain’. This is celebrated on the third day from ‘Tyohar’ festival. This ritual is widely celebrated by people belonging to Newari, Tharu, Bahun and Chhetri groups. On this day, sisters pray to Lord Yamaraj for their brother’s long life.
- Bhai Phonta: In West Bengal, this is celebrated on the first and the second day of Kali Puja.
- Bhai Bij or Bhai Beej: This is celebrated in regions like Goa, Maharastra, Karnataka.
- Other names of this festival include Yamadvitiya, where people worship the God of Death on this day. And also other names are Bhatru Dviteeya or Bhatri Ditya.
Bhai Dooj Celebration
On this day, sisters invite their brothers for a special meal, which includes their favourite sweets and dishes. This ritual differs from place to place. This ritual symbolizes duty of brother to protect their sisters and sisters pray for their brothers health and long life. During this special occasion, sisters perform Aarti for their brothers and apply Tilak on their forehead. In return, brothers bless their sisters and favour them with gifts and sweets. In order to celebrate this ritual, it is important that both brother and sister should be above five years of age.
Even though, this ritual is known by different names across India and Nepal, the motive of this ritual remains the same.