Bhai Dooj is an auspicious occasion which is celebrated with great fervour and happiness all over the country. Brothers and sisters eagerly wait for this festival which strengthens the bond of love and care between them by recalling all the sweet memories of childhood and spending some time with each other. And like every festival, this one has a beginning too, one which is truly engulfed in mythologies, more than one, with each narrating a different story as how this festival came to be celebrated.
The Legend Of Yamraja and Yamuna
This is the most famous legend which is linked with the celebration of Bhai Dooj. According to it, once, Yamraja went to meet his sister Yamuna after a long time. When he reached there, she was very happy to see him and put tika on his forehead, performing aarti, and offered him sweets to eat and gave him a small gift as a token of love. She treated him with appetizing meal. Yamraja was so pleased to see the love and care of his sister that he declared that any brother, who receives tilak from his sister on this day, will never be sent to the hell and will live a long life. Since then the custom of celebrating Bhai Dooj started and this is why it is also known as Yama Dwitiya.
The Legend Of Lord Krishna And Subhadra
Another legend is linked with Lord Krishna when he went to meet his sister Subhadra after killing the demon Narakasura. Subhadra was very happy to see her brother and she gave a warm welcome to him with flowers and by performing aarti and putting tika on his forehead as a mark of protection and by offering him sweets to eat. This legend then gave birth to the festival of Bhai Dooj, stating that sisters, no matter what, will pray for the well being and long life of their brothers.
The Legend Of Lord Mahavira
This legend is related to Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. When he attained nirvana, his brother King Nandivardhan started missing him and became very much upset. At that time he was consoled by his sister Sudarshana, who took proper care of her brother. Since that time, brothers started giving love and respect to their sisters. On the auspicious day of Bhai Dooj, sisters are given beautiful gifts and honour as a token of love.
Bhai Dooj Ceremony
On the day of the festival, sisters invite their brothers for a sumptuous meal often including their favourite dishes. The whole ceremony signifies the duty of a brother to protect his sister, as well as a sister’s blessings for her brother.
Carrying forward the ceremony in traditional style, sisters perform aarti for their brother and apply a red tika on the brother’s forehead. Thistika ceremony on the occasion of Bhai Bij signifies the sister’s sincerest prayers for the long and happy life of her brother. In return brothers bless their sisters and treat them also with gifts or cash.
As it is customary in Haryana, Maharashtra to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Bhau-beej, women who do not have a brother worship the moon-god instead. They apply mehendi on girls as their tradition.
The sister, whose brother lives far away from her and cannot come to her house, sends her sincerest prayers for the long and happy life of her brother through the moon-god. She performs aarti for the moon. This is the reason why children of Hindu parents affectionately call the moon Chandamama (Chanda means moon and mama means mother’s brother).