Thursday, 2 June 2011

Bhau Beej



The festival of Bhau-beej or Bhai Dooj or Bhai Phota is celebrated by Hindus on the last day of the five-day-long Diwali festival. This is the second day of the bright fortnight or Shukla Paksha of the Hindu month of Kartika. On this day, sisters pray for their brothers to have long and happy lives by performing the Tika ceremony, and brothers make gifts to their sisters.

The festival is known as:
Bhai Phota  in Bengal and it takes place every year on the first or the second day of the Kali Puja festival.
Bhai Bij, Bhau-beej or Bhav Bij amongst the Marathi and Konkani-speaking communities in the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka;
Bhai Tika in Nepal, where it is the second most important festival after Vijaya Dashami.
In Manipur this festival is celebrated under the name Ningol Chakuba. Brother-Sister bonding is present here also.

Another name for the day is Yamadwitheya or Yamadvitiya, after a legendary meeting between Yama the god of Death and his sister Yamuna (the famous river) on Dwitheya (the second day after new moon).Other names include Bhai Dooj, Bhathru Dwithiya, Bhai Tika and Bhatri Ditya.

According to another popular legend in Hindu mythology, after slaying the evil demon Narkasur, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra who gave him a warm welcome with sweets and flowers. She also affectionately applied tilak on Krishna's forehead. Some believe this to be the origin of the festival.

On the day of the festival, sisters invite their brothers for a sumptuous meal often including their favorite 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. This tika 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 with gifts or cash.

As it is customary in 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 affectionately Hindu children call the moon Chandamama (Chanda means moon and mama means mother's brother).

On the day of the festival, sisters invite their brothers for a sumptuous meal often including their favorite 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. This tika 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 with gifts or cash.

As it is customary in 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 affectionately Hindu children call the moon Chandamama (Chanda means moon and mama means mother's brother).