Bhai-Dooj: ‘The Festival in India of true bond’
What is Bhai-Dooj festival?
The festival of Bhai-Dooj falls just after the festival of lights, Diwali. This is the last day of celebration of Diwali. This festival of brother and sister glorifies the love between them. This day of Bhai-Dooj falls on the day of new moon light. According to literature, Bhai means brother and Dooj refers to second day after the new moon. The day is considered to pray for the success and long life of brother. This auspicious day is specially celebrated for the affection between brothers and sisters.
What is the history behind celebrating ‘Bhai Dooj’?
Once upon a time, Lord Surya got married to the beautiful ‘Samjna’ who bore him twin brother and sister, named ‘Yama’ and ‘Varni’. The family was a happy one until Samjna decided to return back to earth and leave her shadow ‘Chaya’ who was her replica behind so that no one would notice her absence. ‘Chaya’ was evil and thus she began torturing the twins and then bore her own children with Surya and made him throw the twins out of heaven onto earth. ‘Yama’ went to the underworld and became the ‘King of Death’ and ‘Varni’ became the river Yamuna. After few years, ‘Varni’ married a handsome prince and started living happily but she always use to miss her brother and wanted to meet him. In the same way, ‘Yama’ also use to miss his sister. So he decided to visit her sister place to meet her. The day he visited her was two days after Diwali called ‘Shukla Paksha Dwitiya’ in the month of ‘Kartk’. ‘Varni’ had decorated her house well and had prepared a huge feast in honor of her brother. ‘Yama’ was very happy and asked his sister to demand anything she wanted from him. That’s when ‘Varni’ asked his brother to bless the souls of all the brothers with health and prosperity who visit their sisters on this auspicious day and the sisters too, who apply ‘Teeka’ on the forehead of their brothers and prepare meals to honor their brothers. Thus, the tradition of ‘Bhai-Dooj’ came into practice.
Bhai-Dooj marks the end of the five days Diwali festivities. It is celebrated with great zeal and happiness all over the country to celebrate the strong and pious bond of siblings. Both sisters and brothers pray to God of Death, ‘Yam’, to bless them and their families and keep them away from sickness and death and any other problem.
What is the significance of Bhai-Dooj?
Bhai-Dooj festival is associated with love between Brothers and Sisters. Bhai-Dooj festival strengthens the bond of love and affection between them. The day is celebrated with sharing of food, gifts and love. Whole day of Bhai-Dooj goes in sharing love in the way of giving gifts and candies to each other.
According to traditions, it is believed that Bhai-Dooj is associated with the married women and her brothers. Brother goes to married sister’s house for the celebration of this festival. Sister put a tilak of Vermillion mark on the forehead of her brother and prays for the long life and success of brother on this day.
Astrological significance of this festival is associated with Taittiriya Samhita and Devi Bhagawata. According to them, Karttika is the month when Rassa of Devas starts. Raasa is actually the process of creation under which consciousness is the control center and all the other things moves around consciousness.
Vishakha and Krittika are the two points of intersection of equator and ecliptic. The axis of earth moves in the circle in 26,000 years. This planetary move makes this festival fall on second day of Karttika and it is the symbol of pair of brothers and sisters.
How Bhai-Dooj is celebrated?
According to traditions, Brothers visit to their married sister’s home and give her gifts. Sister put tilak on brother’s forehead and prays for the long life, success and well-being of brother. While putting tilak, sister gives piece of sweet in brother’s mouth. This increases love and affection between them.
What are the rituals that need to be followed for ‘Bhai-Dooj Pujan’?
- Sisters decorate their ‘pooja Thali’ with ‘roli’, ‘teeka’, ‘batasha’, rice grains, coconut and sweets.
- After praying to deities, Lord Ganesha and God of Death ‘Yam’, they ceremonies the occasion by putting the sacred ‘kumkum teeka’ on their brother’s forehead.
- It is mandatory that sisters should not drink or eat anything that day before putting the ‘teeka’ on their brother’s forehead.
- Sisters pray to God of Death ‘Yam’ and ask for a long life of health and prosperity, free of sickness and other hurdles for their brothers’.
What is the mantra that the sister needs to chant while doing the ‘Pujan’?
The mantra that the sisters’ need to chant while doing the ‘pujan’ is as under
“Bhratus tabaa grajaataaham, Bhunksa bhaktamidam shuvam Preetaye yama raajasya, Yamunaah Visheshatah”. It is a Sanskrit Shloka which means that brother, I am your sister, please accept and eat this sacred rice for the pleasure of Lord ‘Yam’, and Goddess ‘Yamuna’
‘Pujan’ of Lord Chitragupta
Bhai-Dooj is also popularly called, ‘Yam Dwitiya’. The Kyastha community of Hindus celebrates this day by praying to Lord Chaitragupta who is responsible for keeping record of one’s good and bad deeds, in accordance to which one is sent to heaven or hell post his mortal death. People worship pen and paper as a token of respect to the Lord. The festival of Bhai-Dooj is popularly known as ‘Bhav-Bij’ in Maharashtra, ‘Bhai Phota’ in Bengal and ‘Bhai Teeka’ in Nepal. This festival is celebrated for brothers and sisters. Brothers meet to their sister on this day and give her presents. Affection and love is increased between them with the celebration. Celebration of Bhai-Dooj takes place after Diwali.