Bhai Dooj: The festival of lights “Diwali” is fully succeeded by Govardhan Puja and Bhai Dooj. Bhai Dooj is being celebrated on 9th November 2018. Bhai Dooj commemorates the beautiful bond between a brother and her sister. Also known as Bhai Phota (West Bengal), Bhau Beej (Maharashtra) and Yama Dwitiya in southern parts of the country, the festival is celebrated with many different rituals across the country. But what is common in most traditions is the tilak ceremony. Sisters apply vermilion and sandal paste tilaks on the foreheads of their brothers and pray for their prosperity; in return the brothers shower their sisters with gifts and vow to protect them from evil forces. Sisters also offer a variety of sweets like ladoos and barfi to their brothers. The ritual is later followed by a grand feast.
Several regions have added their own local flavours to the festival. In Bengal, the festival is celebrated as Bhai Phota. Sisters apply tilak on their brothers’ foreheads while chanting a special mantra. She later offers him sweets and water. The brother gives her gifts in return. In Haryana, in addition to the tilak ceremony, a special ritual is also being followed. A dry coconut (named as gola in regional language) with klewa is tied along its width. This gola is also used at the time of doing aarti.
Significance Of Bhai Dooj
Bhai Dooj is one of the oldest festivals of the country. There are countless myths and folklores associated with the festival. According to one popular legend after slaying the evil demon Narakasura, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra, who welcomed him with sweets and flowers. She also affectionately applied tilak on Krishna’s forehead. This particular gesture of Subhadra warmed Krishna’s heart and he blessed her with many boons. The festival is also called Yamadwitheya (or Yamadvitiya) in some parts of the country. According to another popular legend, the God of Death, Yamaraj, once went to visit his sister Yamuna. The thrilled Yamuna welcomed her brother with an aarti and applied tilak on Yama’s head. She also offered him some sweets and gifts. Yamaraj gave her a boon that whoever celebrated Bhai Dooj with his sister and took a bath in the holy river would not go to hell.
Why Bhai Dooj is being celebrated after Diwali?
Bhaiya Duj or Bhai Dooj has a special significance in the Hindu religion. This festival is also called ‘Yum Dwitiya’ and ‘Fraternal Diwitiya’. After Rakshabandhan Bhaiya Duj is the second festival that the brother and sister celebrate very enthusiastically. Where, in Rakshabandhan, the brothers always promise to protect their sister, while on the occasion of Brother Duj, the sister prays for her brother’s long life.
On the occasion of Bhai Duj, sister prays for her brother’s long life. In many places on this day, sisters also put their brothers in oil and even bath them. Bathing in the river Yamuna is considered very auspicious. If the bath is not possible in the Yamuna, the brother should take a bath in his sister’s house. If sister is married, then she should invite her brother and call him at home and give him the food as well.
It is considered good to feed brother with rice on this day. If anyone hasn’t have a sister, then this festival can be celebrated even with maternal or cousin. The message of this festival is that love should always be maintained between brother and sister. Regardless of how busy they are in each other’s lives, however, they should definitely spend some time with each other.