India is a land of festivals, and customs and traditions are integral part of Indian culture. Every festival is culturally important in its own self. And one such festival happens to be Bhai Dooj. This festival falls on the second day after Diwali and its spirit is to cherish the bond of love and affection that brother and sister share. Bhai Dooj is one of the most awaited festivals that display unique cultural traditions in different regions of India. The festival of Bhai Dooj develops within us the feeling of love and care towards our siblings.
On this day, sisters invite and offer their brothers with scrumptious meal. A special square shaped space is drawn with flowers and beautified with corn powder by sisters. As per the tradition, the brothers have to step in that square area. Before he enters it, brother is made to eat a bitter fruit. There's a legend related to it, which says that Lord Krishna tasted this fruit before he went to slay the demon Narakasura. And after killing the demon, Krishna visited his sister Subhadra who welcomed him heartily by applying tilak on Krishna's forehead. Since then the custom of celebrating Bhai Dooj or Bhaubeej started.
Carrying this occasion in traditional style, sisters decorate puja thalis with sweets, tika, rice, coconut and flowers. Brothers sit in front of their sisters with covered heads, and sisters perform aarti and apply tika on their forehead. She then presents him with sweets and prays to god for his long life and good health. The tradition of gifting is also involved in this festival. The brother reciprocates by showering blessings and gifts on his sisters. Gifts may be in cash or kind, depending upon the understanding of brother-sister. Women who have no brother, worship moon God on this auspicious occasion.
Also, brothers have to visit their sisters on this day and fulfil the custom of 'Bhagini Hastha Bhojanam', which means brothers have to consume the meal prepared by their sisters. This tradition was started by Lord Yama, God of Death. He when visited his sister Yamuna, she welcomed him warmly by adorning his neck with garland, and applying tika on his forehead. She served him a lavish meal. Yama delighted by her gesture declared that whoever receives tika from his sister on his day will bring himself good luck, good health and prosperity.