The festival of Bhaidooj is celebrated between brothers and sisters. On this festival, they strengthen the bond of love they share. In Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka, This festival is also known as Bhaubeej, Bhav Bij or Bhai Bij among Konkani and Marathi speaking communities. Among Bengalis it is known as Bhai phonta or Bhai-phota. It falls on the second day of the five day celebrations of Diwali. According to Hindu calendar, this is the second day of the Shukla Paksha on month of Kartika.
On this propitious day, sisters invite their brothers for a sumptuous feast. This ceremony connotes a brother’s duty to protect his sister and a sister’s blessings for her brother. Sisters apply tilak on forehead of their brother and pray for their long life. Brothers also promise their sisters to protect them and stand by their side in every hardship of life. They also give gifts to their sisters. Women and girls who don’t have a brother celebrate this occasion by worshipping Moon God Darpanagayesha. This festival is celebrated as Bhai Tika in Nepal.
Festival of Bhaidooj is celebrated with lot of zeal and jollity, especially in Maharashtra and Goa. Sisters and brothers look upon this festival with a lot of zest. Exchange of gifts between brothers and sisters takes place as a token of love and gratitude for each other. It adds charm to this occasion. Bhaubeej gives time of a family get together. The reason is that all brothers and sisters in the family meet on this day. Basundi Poori and Shrikhand Poori are special sweets and are savored with many other special dishes of this festival.
Other than many names of Bhaidooj mentioned above, ‘Yama Dwiteeya’ is another name of this festival. The legends say that Yamaraj visits his sister Yami on this occasion. She applies tilak on his forehead and prays for his long life. So, it is believed that anyone receiving tilak from his sister on this auspicious day will never be thrown to the fires of hell.
Another legend states that Lord Krishna visits his sister Subhadra on this day after slaying the Narakasura demon. She gives him a warm welcome with flowers, sweets and tilak on his forehead.
One more legend tells story of origin of Bhai Dooj. It says that when Mahavir Swami attained nirvana, his brother King Nandivardhan was distraught. He missed him and his sister Sudarshana comforted him. Since that time, women have been looked upon with respect during Bhai Dooj.
These days, sisters who can’t meet their brothers on this festival, send their affection in form of tika through post. Bhaidooj ecards and virtual tikas have made these things easier these days for brothers and sisters who are not together on this day. the loving bond of brothers and sisters is made stronger on Bhaidooj.