Bhai Dooj is a festival celebrated by brothers and sisters to strengthen their bond of affection. Bhai Dooj 2017 will be celebrated on 21 October.
Bhai Dooj 2017
Bhai Dooj 2017 Date
When: October 21, 2017
Bhai Dooj - 'Bhai Dooj' is a Hindu festival noted as much for its vibrancy as for its inspiring sentiments related to brother and sister relationship. Coming at the far end of Diwali celebrations, this festival dedicated to brothers and sisters falls in the auspicious Kartik month of October/November. Hence, 'Bhai' stands for brother and 'dooj' signifies second. Also, in the same vein as 'Raksha Bandhan', brothers give the assurance of protection to sisters and offer blessings. Sisters honor this strong bond with the simple ritual of putting a 'tilak' on the brother's forehead and performing an 'arti', while concluding it with profound prayers for his long life. The hallowed light emanating from the 'arti' is a symbol of purity that keeps the brother-sister relationship sacrosanct.
On 'Bhai Dooj' day, brothers visit their sisters, partake of good food prepared in their honor and also indulge their sisters with gifts or goods. In their most heartfelt thoughts and prayers, sisters root for their brother's prosperity and good health.
Myths and legends
The tradition of celebrating Bhai Dooj is rooted in several myths, the foremost being the epical story of the indelible love between brother Yamraj, the Lord of Death, and his twin sister, Yami. After years of separation, Yami heard of her brother's visit and prepared a great feast in his honor. Lord Yamaraj so brimmed with joy after meeting Yami, that he showered blessings of long life and freedom from karmic effects on any brother who reciprocated his sister's love and devotion. This festival is, therefore, also known as Yama Dwitiya. In another mythological legend, after the episode of slaying of demon Narakasura, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra who welcomed him with flowers and sweets, while placing a tilak on his forehead. In Jainism, the story goes that when Mahavir attained nirvana, King Nandivardhan's grief at his brother's loss was assuaged by his sister Sudarshana.
Bhai Dooj celebration in India
Much in the tradition of all Hindu festivals, Bhai Dooj festival commands its own uniqueness and respect and is celebrated every year across different parts of India. In Bengal, Bhai Dooj festival is celebrated as 'Bhai Phota', wherein the sister fasts until she applies a 'phota' or tilak with sandal wood paste and ghee on her brother's forehead, validating the enduring love between a brother and a sister. Hence, Bhai Dooj festival is an opportunity to visit the sister's place, besides indulging in the customary feasting and spirited conversation. A grain of rice along with 'durba', a type of auspicious grass is given to the elder of the sibling. Rice is a symbol of abundance and the evergreen durba symbolizes longevity. 'Kheer' and coconut ladoos are prepared in every Bengali household.
In Gujarat, Maharashtra and Konkan region, the festival is celebrated as 'Bhau Beej'. In Uttar Pradesh, the tradition of making 'aab' (circular-shaped flax) is followed, and placed along with sugar-coated sweet called 'batashas' on the puja thali/plate. There is a custom of recounting the legends associated with 'Bhaiya Dooj' as the sister puts the tilak on her brother's forehead and performs an aarti for the brother.
In Bihar, a most curious tradition is followed by sisters who curse their brothers and prick their own tongues using a thorn, asking for brothers' forgiveness and past mistakes. Finally they pray for their well-being and long life. The sister performs the tilak ritual and offers a few grains of bajri to be gulped down with water, before offering to their brother's favorite sweets.
Bhai Dooj in recent times There are layers of social implications around Hindu festivals, and in the particular occasion of 'Bhai Dooj', it is a most opportune time for a married girl to spend time with her own kin. Plenty of decorations and lighting are seen put up at various places across cities on the occasion of 'Bhai Dooj'. Sisters who stay far away from their brothers send 'tika' through post. 'Bhai Dooj' e-cards offers an alternate way to sustain that eternal connect so integral to a brother-sister relationship. Brothers staying far away also send gift hampers to their sister/s using the services of online retailers.