Bhai Duj (Bhai Dooj) Festival
Bhai duj or Bhaiya duj is the day when brothers and sisters meet to express their love and affection for each other.Diwali is not only a festival of lights, crackers, worship of Goddess Lakshmi, sharing sweets with your loved ones but it is also a perfect occasion for social gatherings to exchange diwali greetings. This lovely festival brings with it a chance to revive your relationships with each other. One such special relationship that we talk about during diwali celebrations is the Bhai-Dooj or the Bhaiya-Duj. Bhaiya Duj is the festival that is celebrated on the fifth day of diwali and it falls on second day after diwali that is on 'Shukla Paksha Dwitiya' in the Hindi month of 'Kartik'. 'Dwitiya' means 'Duj' or the second day after the new moon. Thus Bhai Duj is the festival that marks the end of diwali celebrations.
This festival is popular in different regions with different names such as 'Bhai-Dooj' in north India, 'Bhav-Bij' in Maharashtra, 'Bhai-Phota' in Bengal and 'Bhai-Teeka' in Nepal. The festival of Bhai Dooj is known to be based on mythological concept. The celebrations of Bhai dooj reflects the importance of unique cultural traditions that vary with different region of India. This helps to keep the family close and brings prosperity, well being and luck. Bhai Dooj falls on the two day after Diwali and is celebrated all over the country. All the rituals and pooja held on Bhai Dooj is carried out in the general puja room or on the same platform that was decorated for Diwali pooja. Sisters decorate their puja thali with mithai, batashas, roli and rice along with the coconut. They light up the puja lamp and perform all the rituals. Once the pooja is performed by every members of the family, the sister applies tika on the forehead of the brother. After applying tikka, she gives him a few of the eatables along with the coconut. Those married women who stay close to their parent's place visit their brother early in the morning and greet them. Those staying far off either take out few days to visit her brother or express their love and blessings through posting greeting cards or e-cards and sending their good wishes. After all the rituals of Bhai Duj is performed, brothers pamper their sisters by presenting the most memorable gifts. Most commonly, the girl of the house is given presents of clothes, utensils, and lots of mithai and fruits at festivals.
The legends have that Lord Yamraj, the God of Death, visited his sister Yamuna on the 'Shukla Paksha Dwitiya' day in the Hindi month of 'Kartik'. When Yamraj reached Yamuna's home she welcomed Him by performing His aarti, applying 'Tilak' on His forehead and by putting a garland around His neck. Yamuna also cooked varieties of dishes and prepared lots of sweets for her brother and offered all those to Him. Lord Yamraj ate all those delicious dishes and when He was finished He showered blessings on Yamuna and gave her a boon as a gift that if a brother visits his sister on this day he would be blessed with health and wealth. This is why this day of Bhayya Duj is also known by the name of 'Yam-Dwitiya'. And thus it has become a tradition that on the day of Bhai-Dooj brothers visit their sisters' home and offer them gifts. Sisters also make various dishes for their brothers and also give gifts to them. Another legend is that on this day, Lord Krishna, after slaying the Narakasura demon, goes to his sister Subhadra who welcomes him with the lamp, flowers and sweets, and puts the holy protective spot on her brother's forehead.
According to another famous legend, when Lord Vamadev was pleased with Bali maharaj and appeared in Vishnu-rupa, Bali asked a boon that Lord Vishnu would be on every door at Patalaloka. Vishnu agrees and goes to become a Dwarpalaka of Bali. When Goddess Lakshmi heard this news by Narad, she was in great distressed. Lakshmi plays trick on Bali in order to make her husband return back to his original place. She went to Bali as a poor woman seeking help. She says that she doesn't have a brother and would dearly like one. Then Bali accepted her as his sister and told her to ask anything that she need. Then Lakshmi replied that you have my everything in your service - please release Lord Vishnu. Thus, Lord Vishnu was released from the service of Bali. One more story behind the celebrations of Bhai-Duj is that when Bhagwaan Mahavir attained 'Nirvana', his brother Raja Nandi-Vardhan became very sad. He missed Bhagwaan Mahavir very badly then it was his sister Sudarshana, who comforted him. Since then the women have been revered during this festival.
Bhai Duj Celebrations
On the auspicious day of Bhaiya-Dooj brothers and sisters get up early in the morning and get ready to celebrate their day. The sisters perform 'aarti' of their brothers and apply a beautiful 'Tilak' or 'Teeka' on their forehead. Then they sweeten their mouths with mouth-watering eatables. Then the brothers and sisters exchange gifts with each other. On the auspicious day of 'Yam-Dwitiya' the people of 'Kayastha' community of Hindus celebrates the holy function of worshipping Lord Chitragupta who is the God, who maintains the records of life and death of the creatures. The 'Kayastha' community also worships the pen, paper and ink on this day in the honor of Lord Chitragupta.
Significance of Bhai duj
Like other festivals in India, Bhai Dooj is also an Occasions for family get togethers, feasting and exchanging gifts. Bhai Duj is also a celebration of sacred relationship between sisters and brothers. Although this festival is dedicated to the bond of care and affection between brother & sister but it goes way beyond it. Bhaiya Duj signifies the peaceful co-existence of every individual, promotes the feeling of unity and encourage the harmonious social life.