Bhai Dooj Festival, India

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Bhai Dooj in India

After Diwali, it’s time to celebrate Bhai Dooj – a festival meant for brothers and sisters. The name Bhai Dooj itself denotes the day of the festival dedicated to brothers and falls on the second day after the new moon. The bond of love between brothers and sisters is glorified with the celebration of Bhai Dooj. The festival has different names in different regions of the country. It is called Bhaiya Dooj in the Hindi-speaking belt, Bhai Phot in Bengal, Bhav Bij in Marathi, Yama dwiteya in Orissa and Bhai Tika in Nepal.

The bond between brother and sister is so eternal and celestial, which is reflected in our festivals. The rituals and customs of Bhaiya Dooj festival provide a heartfelt look at the dynamics of lifelong sibling relationships.


Legend of Bhai Dooj

There are few legends about this festival which tell us the importance of its celebration. Long years ago, on this pious day, Yamraj, the Lord of death visited his sister Yamuna, also called Yami. In order to welcome her brother, she had put the auspicious tilak on his forehead, and then they ate, talked and enjoyed together and exchanged special gifts as a token of their love for each other. Since then it became inevitable for the brother to go to his sister's house to celebrate Bhai Dooj.


Another legend about the festival tells that, Lord Krishna after killing the Narakasura demon goes to his sister Subhadra who welcomes him with the lamp, flowers and sweets. She puts the holy protective tilak on her brother's forehead and waves her aarti.


Yet another story behind the origin of Bhai Dooj is with Mahavir, the founder of Jainism who attained nirvana on this day. His brother King Nandivardhan was distressed because he missed him and was comforted by his sister Sudarshana.

Bhai Dooj Celebrations

It is the festival of brother and sister, where sisters ceremonize their love for their brothers by putting an auspicious tilak or a vermilion mark on the forehead of their brothers and performs an aarti of him by showing him the light of the holy flame as a mark of love and protection from evil forces. Then its brother's turn, sisters are lavished with gifts, treats and blessings from their brothers. Sister's observes fast till they put tilak on their brother's forehead. That day they also lay a lavish cuisine, all their brothers' favorite dishes.
On the other hand brothers also eagerly wait for this occasion. Brothers sit on a carpet and sisters lit puja lamp, uttering the mantra, apply tilak of chandan/roli on the forehead, kajal and dew water with their little finger of left hand and give blessings with green grass and paddy seeds. Finally they offer sweets along with the coconut to their brother. Thus sisters wish their brothers long life, good health and all prosperity.
Significance of Bhai Dooj


The celebration of Bhai Dooj reflects the significance of rich Indian cultural and traditions that vary with different region of India. Like all other Hindu festivals, Bhai Dooj too has got a lot to do with family ties and social attachments. It serves as a good time, especially for a married girl, to get together with her own family, and share the post-Diwali glee. This helps to keep the family close and brings prosperity. The festival reveals the harmonious love and bond between the brother and sister that continuous to increase through their life.

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