Festival of Bhai-Dooj – History, Significance, and Celebration
Bhai-Dooj is India’s most prominent and legendary festival where sisters pray to god for the long and prosperous existence of their dearest brothers. Sisters conduct puja and tika ceremonies, while their brother offers them blessings and good wishes in the form of presents. It is also called with different names in different parts of India like BhauBeej (in Goa, Maharashtra, and Karnataka), BhaiTika (in Nepal), Bhathru Dwithiya, Bhau-dooj, Bhai Phota (in Bengal), and Ningol Chakuba (in Manipur).
It is India’s most famous festival that is enjoyed two days after Diwali’s primary festival. It falls on the second day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Kartika (between October and November), according to the Gregorian calendar. All the sisters wake up early in the morning, worship god and goddesses praying for their brothers’ better future and health.
Putting vermillion and rice on their foreheads after puja, the ritual celebration takes place. They also do aarti after this ceremony and offer a sweet drink, sweets and a glass of water. Finally, they exchange gifts and take blessings by touching the elders’ feet.
It is also celebrated in other countries. This Festival is just like the Raksha Bandhan festival which increases the bond and love among brothers and sisters. On this auspicious day, sisters pray to God for the well-being and welfare of their brothers while brothers offer gifts to show their love and care for their loving sisters.
HISTORY OF BHAI DOOJ
There are many stories and legends that are related to the origin and celebration of this special occasion. According to Hindu mythology, the God of Death, Yamraj, visited his lovable sister named Yami (Yamuna) on this unique day. His sister greeted him through the aarti and tilak ceremony. She offered him a garland and special dishes including sweets to eat. He gave his sister a distinctive gift as a sign of love and care towards his sister. On that day Yamraj had proclaimed that the brother who would receive tilak and aarti from their sister should never be afraid of him. That’s why the same day is also called Yama Dwitiya.
According to another story, Hindu Lord Krishna returned to his sister, Subhadra, after killing the demon king Narakasur. He was welcomed by his sister with tilak, aarti, flowers, and sweets.
SIGNIFICANCE OF BHAI DOOJ
People of Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Goa celebrate this festival with great passion and fun. It is the time when brothers and sisters remember their responsibilities towards each other. It reunites and renews the relationship and love between brothers and sisters. Generally, all the members of the family get together to celebrate it. There is a sweet dish in Maharashtra known as the basundi poori or kheer poori, especially cooked on this day. This festival brings a great deal of happiness, affection, and warmth in brother and sister’s relationship. This festival is a way to show each other, the love and the care of brothers and sisters.
HOW TO CELEBRATE BHAI DOOJ
Sisters ask their brothers to come home and cook their favourite dishes to celebrate this festival. Sisters, pray to god on this day to give their brothers all the blessings to keep them protected from all problems and bad fortune. However, brothers follow their responsibilities towards their loving and caring sisters. Five betel nuts and leaves of betel are placed by their sisters at the brothers. The sisters pray by pouring water on their hands.
Sisters make a rice flour seat for their brothers to sit on it and get a ceremony. They worship the brother’s hands by applying the rice and Sindoor paste. Then, sister offers flowers of Kaddu, betel leaves, betel nut and coins in the palms of their brother. Sisters chant mantras by pouring water on the palm. The application of Kalawa in the hand, tilak, and aarti is performed. Sisters lit a lamp facing the south direction. It is considered that it is very lucky to see the flying kite in the sky to get fulfilled the wishes requested to God for the longevity of the brothers.
At some places like Haryana and Maharashtra, where the festival is celebrated normally, the sister without a brother (who has no brother), celebrates the special occasion by worshiping the Hindu God Moon instead of a brother. Sisters apply Mehendi on their hands as per their customs and tradition.
Sisters, who are far away from their brothers, pray to the moon, take aarti for their brothers’ happiness and prosperity. While brothers send their sisters, gifts and lots of love via email, post or other means. This is the main reason why all children make a call to the moon by the name of Chandamama.
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