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Viva Holidays Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd. Bhai Dooj
Bhai Dooj is one of the major festival of India, also spelt as Bhaidooj, Bhaiduj or Bhai Duj. 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.
Bhai Dooj
Bhai-Dooj is a Hindu festival that celebrates the love and affection between a brother and a sister. 'Bhai' means brother and 'Dooj' means two days after new moon. It is one of the most awaited festival in India. Every year the festival comes two days after Diwali in Kartik month.

Rituals of Bhai Dooj Festival
As soon as the festival of Diwali is over, the aura of jubilation and celebration do not fade away. Festivals like Bhai Duj keeps it alive. Bhaidooj festival is celebrated to mark the bonding between a brother and sister. The ritual starts from early morning. Usually, on this day, the brother visits her sister's home if she is married and have a meal with her.

In Sanskrit, this is explained as “Bhagini Hastha Bhojanam”. This means “having a meal with sister”. At some places brothers and sisters also take a dip in the holy waters of river Yamuna. There are certain communities in India which follow the custom of worshipping Chitragupta - the mythical record keeper of Lord Yamaraj.

After invoking the blessings of family deity, sisters apply sacred red tilak on brother’s head and place some rice grains on the tilak. By rotating the Puja Thali in circles around brother, she performs arti of her brother. She prays to almighty for his longevity and happiness. After this, she puts a sweet in brother’s mouth. While performing the ceremony, she also utters the following mantra:
Bhratus tabaa grajaataaham, Bhunksa bhaktamidam shuvam Preetaye yama raajasya, Yamunaah Visheshatah.’ This means: “I'm your sister, Eat this sacred rice, For the pleasure of ‘Yam Raj’ and ‘Yamuna’.”

In return of the tilak, the brothers bless their sisters and promise to protect them from all problems in life. If the brother is younger he seeks blessings from his sister. Gifts are exchanged on this day. Both brother and sister indulge each other with loads of gifts ranging from sweets, dry fruits and chocolates to apparel, jewelry and many more.

The rituals in Bhaidooj symbolises a beautiful aspect of the eternal bond of affection and love between brother and sister in Indian culture. This festival marks the strong familial ties existing between the family members.

Bhai Dooj Festival Celebrations under Different Names
Bhai Dooj is celebrated on the fifth day of the Diwali Festival. Celebrated with lot of joy and enthusiasm, this is one of the very important Indian festival to mark the celebration of the never-ending bonding and love between a brother and sister. This festival is celebrated is known by various names.

Bhai Phota or Bhai Fota in West Bengal :
In West Bengal, this festival is popularly known as Bhai Phota or Bhai Fota. The ritual starts in the morning. The sister keeps fast all morning till the ritual is completed. As a part of the ritual, tilak is applied on the forehead of the brother . This is call Bhai Fota. The tilak is made of ghee, sandalwood (chandan) paste and kaajal. The elder of the brother and sister gives the younger ones rice and durba, a type of grass. Kheer and coconut laddoos are a must-eat in Bhai Phota.

Bhai Tika or Bhai Teeka in Nepal :
In Nepal also, bhai dooj is celebrated. It is known as Bhai Tika or Bhai Teeka. It is also known as Bhai Tihar, as Tihar is the name for Diwali in Nepal. In Nepal, on this day , tilak or tika is made using five colors red, green, blue, yellow and white and applied on brother's forehead. This tika is also known as “Paanch Rangi Tika”. As a part of the ritual, sister draws mandaps in the name of the God using Doob grass and the Tika ceremony is carried out. This custom of drawing mandaps symbolizes that no one, not even Lord Yama can cross the boundary guarded by a loving sister.

Bhathru Dwithiya or Bhatri Ditya :
Bhai Dooj is popularly known as Bhathru Dwithiya or Bhatri Ditya in various places. Here 'Bhathru' or 'Bhatri' means brother. “Dwithiya” or “Ditya” implies that the festival is celebrated on the second day after the new moon. To carry out the ceremony, brothers' visit their sisters' on this day. A popular ritual carried out on this day is “Bhagini Hastha Bhojanam”. This custom means that brothers' must partake food prepared by their sister.

Bhai Dooj in Bihar :
In Bihar, bhai dooj is celebrated in am altogether different manner. Sisters begin the celebrations by heaping choicest of curses on their brothers. After doing this they prick their own tongues as punishment. For this they use a thorny, wild fruit. Then they ask for forgiveness from the brothers for the curses, and also for past mistakes. Brothers' then bless their sisters. The brothers swallow a few grains of bajri with water, before tasting yummy sweets from their sisters' hands.

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