The beautiful Indian festival, Bhai Dooj is known from various names across India. The essence of this festival is to cherish and strengthen the pure bond of love shared by a brother and his sister. The customs and traditions may vary as per geographical locations, the names by which it is called may be different, but the spirit of the festival is same throughout. Celebrated on the second day after Diwali, this festival of love involves applying of tika on brother's forehead by sisters and in turn receives gifts from brothers. Sisters pray for their brothers' long life and good health, and this kind gesture is reciprocated by their brothers in the form of blessings. This festival of Bhai Dooj is celebrated with great zeal and fervour and is eagerly awaited by everyone for the lovely celebrations it involves. Traditional Indian sweets are prepared at homes, puja thali is prepared and these are used in the Bhai Dooj ceremony. This festival is celebrated in most parts of India, especially North India. Described below are regional names of Bhai Dooj festival.
Bhai Phota or Bhai Fota In West Bengal
Celebrated on the second day of Kali Puja, this prominent Hindu festival is celebrated with sheer joy and gusto all over West Bengal. The sisters apply tilak made of ghee, sandalwood paste and soot, on the forehead of their brothers. The younger ones are given rice and durba (a type of grass) as a symbol of abundance and long life. After the ceremonies, the family gets involved in making merry by singing songs. Huge get-togethers are organised. Kheer and coconut laddus are the festive sweets that are relished by all.
Bhai Tika or Bhai Teeka in Nepal
Also known as Bhai Tihar, this is celebrated in Nepal on the fifth day of Tihar, a popular festival of lights, with great enthusiasm and happiness. A special five-coloured tika is prepared, called Paanch Rangi Tika, consisting of red, green, blue, yellow and white colours. This tika is applied on the forehead of the brother inside the mandap drawn by the sisters in the name of God using Doob grass. This is symbolic of the love that guards a brother and that not even Yama can cross that boundary of love. After the ceremony, scrumptious meals with fruits are served to brothers, and brothers reciprocate with gifts.
Bhathru Dwitiya or Bhatri Ditya
Falling on the fifth and last day of Diwali celebrations, Bhathru Dwithiya is another name for Bhai Dooj where sisters apply tika on brothers' forehead and perform aarti. There's a custom of "Bhagini Hastha Bhojanam" on this occasion, wherein the brothers must consume the food prepared by their sisters.
Falling on the last day of Diwali, this festival relishes the eternal bond of love between a brother and a sister. A popular legend is associated with the festival, which gave the name of Yamadwitheya to Bhai Dooj. Legend has it that Lord Yamraja made a visit to his sister Yamuna's place after a very long time. On his arrival she welcomed him heartily. Yamuna performed aarti, adorned his neck with a beautiful garland, and applied tika on his forehead. She treated him with scrumptious meals. Pleased by her warm gesture, Yama blessed her and showered her with gifts. He declared that a brother visiting his sister on this day will be blessed with good health and wealth. This is the reason why Bhai Dooj is also called Yam Dwitiya or Yamadwitheya.
Bhai Beej/Bhai Bij/Bhav Bij/Bhaubeej in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa
This festival in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa is celebrated beginning with sister drawing special square shape on the floor and making the brother sit inside it. He is then made to consume a bitter fruit called 'Karith'. This custom comes from a mythological tale that Lord Krishna tasted this fruit before he went on for his mission to slay demon Narakasura. On Bhaubeej, sisters pray for their brothers' long and prosperous life while performing tika ceremony. Brothers also bless their sisters and present them with Bhav-Bij gifts. And after the rituals are completed, everyone gorges upon delicious Basundi Poori or Shrikhand Poori.