Customs and traditions are an intrinsic part of the rich Indian culture. In India , a lot of festivals occur one after the other, throughout the year. Each and every festival celebrated in India has its own social and cultural importance. Among these, one of the most momentous and awaited festival is the Bhai Dooj festival. The basic theme behind the origination of the Bhai Dooj festival is believed to be the safety of women.
Nowhere is the bond of brotherly-sisterly love glorified with such grandeur as in India . Hindus celebrate this special relationship twice every year, with the festivals of Raksha Bandhan and Bhai Dooj. Bhai Dooj is one of the major festivals of India . The festival is celebrated between brothers and sisters to strengthen the bond of love they share. On this auspicious day, sisters put tilak on their brother's forehead and pray for their long life. In return, brothers pamper their sisters and promise them to stand by their side in all hardships of life.
Diwali, the festival of lights, is a five day long celebrations. The fifth or the last day of diwali is Bhaiya Dooj, popularly know as Bhai Dooj. The reason why this festival is known as bhai dooj is that it falls on the second day after the new moon that is the Dooj day. And it is a day to pray for the long life of the brother, which is referred as "bhayya or bhai". According to religious scriptures, Bhai Dooj is also called 'Yama Dwiteeya' as it's believed that on this day, Yamaraj, the Lord of Death and the Custodian of Hell, visits his sister Yami, who puts the auspicious mark on his forehead and prays for his well being. So it's held that anyone who receives a tilak from his sister on this day would never be hurled into hell.
Another version Lord Krishna, after killing Narakasur, the asura king, went to meet his sister Subhadra. Subhadra welcomed him in the traditional way by showing him a light and putting on his forehead a tilak of her sisterly protection.
Some other legend says that Bhagawaan Mahavir found nirvana, his brother Raja Nandivardhan was very say and missed his brother a lot. Sister Sudarshana then comforted his brother. Since then, women have been revered during this festival.
The essence of the Bhai dooj festival is that it is celebrated to strengthen the love between brothers and sisters.
In Bengal this event is called 'Bhai Phota', which is performed by the sister who religiously fasts until she applies a 'phota' or mark with sandal wood paste on her brother's forehead, offers him sweets and gifts and prays for his long and healthy life.
Every brother eagerly waits this occasion that reinforces the bond between brothers and sisters and their affectionate relationship. It's an opportunity for a good feast at the sister's place, coupled with an enthusiastic exchange of gifts, and merriment amid the resounding of conch shells in every Bengali household.
It serves as a good time, especially for a married girl, to get together with her own family, and share the post-Diwali glee.