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Bhai Dooj, A way of showing love and care

In India, we don’t just celebrate a festival, we actually celebrate our customs, rituals and relations. The importance we secure for our relations is known around the world. One of our relation-glorifying festivals is "Bhai Dooj". As the name suggests, this is also a festival that marks the undying bond of affection between the brother and his sister similar to the festival of Raksha Bandhan. Quite like the numerous other Indian festivals, Bhai Dooj is also a commemoration of family bonds and social attachments celebrated on the second day after Diwali. On the day of Bhai dooj, sisters pray for the long life and well-being of their brothers.

It is believed by Hindus that on the day of Bhai dooj Lord Yama (the God of Death) visits his sister Yami (river Yamuna) who puts Tilak (an auspicious mark) on her brother’s forehead and prays for his long life. Being overwhelmed at the sister’s deed Lord Yama blesses all the brothers who visit their sisters on this day. The ritual hence followed is that every man who puts on a Tilak on his forehead by his sister on this day will never be hurled into hell and be protected from all evil and obstacles.

For the purpose of praying the well-being of brothers, sisters also offer some special pooja on Bhai dooj. At some places, sisters make an auspicious rangoli of rice flour liquid. In this Rangoli sisters portray the story of a blessed sister of seven brothers. Once there was a king who has only one daughter among the eight children. This girl was a star of all her seven brothers’ eyes. However, the wives of her brothers were quite envious of her. While the brothers were out for business, those envious women tortured the girl in different ways and banged out of the home. When the brothers came back, they started looking for her everywhere and found her living in the forest. Eventually, the girl lived happily under the care of her brothers forever. This divine love between brothers and sisters whose witness are the sun, the moon, holy rivers and the holy tulsi plant also drawn in the rangoli.

Another popular story of Bhaidooj celebration is that of a girl whose husband did not allow her brother to meet her. Under such circumstances, the day of Bhai dooj falls when the girl was crying while preparing for brother's tilak as she knew that her husband wouldn't allow him to come.  Suddenly she saw a dog entering her house and she pushed the dog outside with her hand. Thus, the tilak from the girl’s hand marked a tilak on the dog’s forehead while she was pushing it back. This dog was actually the girl’s brother who had taken the form of a dog so as to see her on bhai dooj. Thus, the story symbolizes that a brother can do everything for her sister.

At many places, these stories are said on the day of Bhai dooj simply to inspire people to have faith in the beautiful relationship of sister-brother.For those who don’t believe in such stories, celebrating Bhai dooj is a way of showing love and care for brothers and sisters towards each-other. As on this day brother and sister meet and cherish the bond of love they are tied with and share the post-Diwali glee. However, at some places people believe that a girl should keep a fast until the bhai dooj pooja and tilak is done. This has no traditional following though and people should stop following such practices on this special day. Let's not complicate this special day with arguing it around gender inequality.It's, in fact, is making sisters more respectable as they pray for their brother's healthy and long life.It's the day to strengthen the rope of love between a brother and a sister. I never got chance to feel and live this special relationship of brother-sister because I have no brother. But I have a firm belief on this very occasion. I do the special pooja with making rangoli with my hands and I pray to the God to give my family members good health and lots of happiness.

I wish this Bhai dooj brings a lot of happiness, affection and warmth in the relationship of every brother and sister.  

These are some of the pics how my boy celebrated Bhai dooj with his Didi, Dhwani. Dhwani is my neighbour's daughter and she loves Vibhu so much 😊

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  1. Thank you for sharing more about this celebration. I love the idea of celebrating the bond of brothers and sisters - so sweet!

  2. This is an interesting set of stories you have iterated in the post above. I knew only the Yama story. All the others were new to me. Loved your post.

  3. Wonderful post. I wasn't aware of the history behind this festival. It's quite informative for me!

  4. I don't have a brother so never celebrated this festival. Loved your post and the stories you have mentioned which are associated with this festival.

  5. Agree..our festivals are more than just celebrations as we celebrate our relationships. I didn't know the stories behind bhai dooj. Thanks for sharing. Vibhu and his didi look cute in the pictures.

  6. Thankyou for talking about the sentiments and cultural significance of the festival. I hope you all had a great celebration.

  7. Happy Bhaiya dooj little one. Really interesting stories these are, I did not know about these

  8. I didn't know of these wonderful stories behind this festival. Thank you for sharing these with us.


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