Bhai Dooj is a festival that is performed annually on the third day from Deepavali to celebrate the bond between brothers and sisters which is also termed as BhauBeej, Bhai Tika and Bhai Phota. Bhai Dooj is a perfect ending to the most celebrated festival of India, Diwali.
The sisters keep the fast for theirs brothers and invite them for a splendid lunch prepared for them that include their favorite dishes. Then, when the brother arrives he is seated somewhere, and a vermilion mark is put on the forehead which is then followed by an “aarti” of the brother followed by the consumption of sweets.
Bhai Dooj is performed to maintain the bonds between brothers and sisters, just like Raksha Bandhan. The festival terminates by sisters giving blessings and praying for their brothers for a long and successful life by performing the tika ceremony. And the brothers in return promise to protect their sisters against all the situations throughout the life. But unlike Raksha Bandhan, sisters present gifts to their brothers.
There are several stories that are presented to narrate the importance of Bhai Dooj and give a reason for its celebration. The first story narrated is as follows. There used to be a family in a village with a younger brother and an elder sister, and they used to love each other a lot. But the sister got married and she went to another village. The time passed by and the brother had little that he remembered of his sister but he still missed her whenever he saw someone play with their sister. Then he asked his mother the reason for why his sister never visited them, to which his mother answered that their village and his sister’s village was separated by a dense forest, which had many stories and hence no one passed.
But he went, facing the dangers that were posed by mountains, snake and tiger by praying to them and made them believe in him. When the brother reached his sister’s place he had a warm welcome and was taken care of with lots of affection. But while returning, he told his sister he would die soon because of the dangers of the forest that made his sister accompany him. She helped her brother to cross the forest with utmost care. She started by giving milk to the snake, meat to the tiger and offering metals and flowers to the mountains so that they do not harm them.
Another story goes by the visit of Lord Krishna to his sister, after he killed Narakasur. He was welcomed in the traditional way of showing of light and putting tika on his forehead.
There might be dozens of reasons to celebrate this day, and another numerous ways to do that, but the love that is shared by a brother and sister will never lower down. This is best showed by the celebration of Bhai Dooj.