One of the most anticipated festivals in India, Diwali is a five-day festivity. The celebrations that begin with Dhanteras and conclude with Bhai Dooj. Though the festival is akin to Rakhi, it does not involve tying the thread. On this day sisters pray for brother’s well being and long life, while brothers vow to protect the sisters.The auspicious day, also known as Bhai Phota or Bhau Bheej, is celebrated on the second day after the new moon or Shukla Paksha in the Hindu lunar month of Kartik. This year it is on October 21, 2017.
Origin and significance
The origin of the festival is associated with two main stories. It is believed, in several parts of India, that after Lord Krishna went to meet his sister Subhadra after killing Narakasur, he was greeted by putting a tilak on his forehead and performing an aarti. This is believed by several people as the history behind the ceremony.
However, there is another narrative that associates the day with Yamraj, the god of death. Many believe that Yamraj visited his sister Yami on the second day after the new moon. The meeting was marked by aarti and tilak ceremony followed by a lavish meal. Yamraj, in return of this love, had given his sister an unique gift. Touched by Yami’s care and affection, Yamraj had declared that on that day, that any brother who would visit his sister and get a tilak and aarti on the dwithiya of Sukla Paksha in the Kartik month, should not fear death.
According to another story the origin of Bhai Dooj is associated with Mahavir, the founder of Jainism. It is believed that when Mahavir snapped family ties and attained nirvana, his brother King Nandivardhan missed him and was consequently comforted by his sister Sudarshana. Thus many attribute this as the origin of the day.
Ceremony or vidhi
Although similar to rakhi, in Bhai Dooj sisters put a tilak or a vermilion mark on the brother’s forehead and perform an aarti. The sisters are then presented with gifts and goodies. This tilak ceremony, however, is celebrated differently at different places. In Bengal sandal paste and kajal is used to put a tilak on the brother’s forehead. Following this a sumptuous mean is prepared. In Nepal, however, seven different colours are used as tilak.
The tilak ceremony can take place till dusk provided the tithi is still dwithiya. The dwitiya tithi this year begins from 1:37 pm on October 21 and ends at 3am on October 22.