Festival of Bhai Dooj – History, Significance, and Celebration
Between a brother and a sister, there is a special understanding and bond. They are each other’s best friends, protectors, admirers, share each other’s secrets and have unconditional love for each other.
The sentiments, emotions and connection between siblings could hardly be deciphered. There are special days or occasions when this special relationship is strengthened between a brother and a sister. One such occasion is Bhaiya Dooj that identifies the eternal love between them.
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. It is also known 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 the most prominent festival in India, which is celebrated two days after Diwali ‘s main festival. According to the Gregorian calendar, it falls on the second day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Kartika (between October and November). All the sisters wake up early in the morning and worship God and Goddesses, hoping for the better future and health of their brothers.
HISTORY OF BHAI DOOJ
There are a few legends based on Hindu mythology related to the root of this auspicious day. According to one legend, Lord Krishna, after killing Narkasur the devil, visited his sister, Subhadra. Her sister gave him a warm welcome and offered flowers and sweets to make the arrival very special. On the forehead of her brother, Krishna, Subhadra applied the ceremonial “tilak” and hence the “Bhai Dooj” festival originated from there.
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.
In the life of a brother and sister, the day has a special significance. It is an auspicious occasion which celebrates the close bond between two siblings. Sisters invite their brothers to visit their place and prepare their favorite dishes. Sisters also pray to God to remove all darkness and poor fortune from the lives of their brothers’ and also for their well-being and longevity. In exchange, brothers pledge to care and stand for the protection of their sisters.
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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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