Day of celebration: November 16, 2020 (Monday)
Also known as: Bhai Phota, 'Bhai Tij', 'Bhaiya Phota', 'Bhau-Beej', 'Bhathru Dwithiya', 'Bhatri Ditya' and 'Yamadwitheya'.
Places of merriment: Maharashtra, West Bengal and Bihar
MEANING of BHAI DOOJ:The significant aspect of Indian festivals is a spirit of long-lasting relationships that takes place between near and dear ones. One such festival is 'Bhai Dooj', which is celebrated with religious and emotional sentiments all over the country.
The festive term 'Bhai Dooj' basically comes from two Hindi words 'Bhaiya' meaning brother and 'Dooj' means 'after two days of new moon'.
It is known by different names like 'Bhai Tij', 'Bhaiya Phota', 'Bhau-Beej', 'Bhathru Dwithiya', 'Bhatri Ditya' and 'Yamadwitheya'.
WHEN IT IS CELEBRATED?
Bhai Dooj festival is celebrated exactly two days after Diwali in the Kartik month of Hindu calendar. The Kartik month usually falls either in the month of October-November.
TALES OF LEGENDS
The Bhai Dooj celebration is said to be based on interesting tales of Indian legends, which tells us the pious bond between a brother and sister. The tales behind Bhai Dooj is based on the following legends:
Amongst all popular legends, the story of brother-sister relationship is narrated by the tale of Yamaraj and Yami. Yamaraj, the Hindu mythological God of Death, visited his sister Yami or Yamuna home on the auspicious day of Dooj after years of separation.
Yami welcomed with exceptional warmth by smearing tilak on Yamaraj's forehead. She treated him with delicious meal. By carrying out these rituals, Yamaraj was thrilled by the affection his sister showered on him. Thereafter, he declared that whosoever receives tika and meal from his sister on Dooj day will never be hurled to hell. Since then this popular custom of Bhai Dooj is popular today throughout India.
WHY THIS BROTHER-SISTER RELATIONSHIP SIGNIFICANT IN THE 21ST CENTURY?
Bhai Dooj is a tribute to brother-sister relationship that is cherished for years together. Especially, when the sister is happily settled into her in-laws home. What makes this day more auspicious is that both brothers and sisters take time out of their humdrum lifestyle to cherish life best moments with each other. In spite of living in this jet-set age of connectivity, the brother-sister duo eagerly await for this day to express their feelings of togetherness and love. Even if they are at poles apart, the festival is rejoiced in hi-tech rituals like e-puja, e-gifts and e-cards.
HOW THIS LOVE AND AFFECTION IS RADIATED?
In India, brothers and sisters are dressed up elegantly in rich Indian outfits to express their love and sentiments for each other. Normally, the sisters visit the brothers carrying with them a decorative puja (prayer) thali (rounded silver plate). This thali is decorated with flowers, sweets, coconut and tilak. The rituals normally begin with a prayer at the brightly lit up prayer room in the homes of the brother. The sisters recite a prayer from their holy scriptures or from their hearts to pray for the brother's long lasting protection and happiness. The sister then smears a tilak (a saffron and vermicelli powder) and rice on her brother's forehead.
After which, a traditional 'Aarti' is performed with a melodious prayers. Sweets and coconut are fed. Thereafter, the brother touches her feet, hugs and blesses her with a warm hug to express his love and respect. Finally, the rituals end with the brothers showering gifts; rich dry fruits sweets, cash and other accessories.