How is Bhai Dooj Celebrated

Bhai Dooj is an important occasion which is celebrated across the whole India with great enthusiasm and spirit. The ceremony starts with the task of inviting brothers for a sumptuous meal of their favourite dishes or sweets. The entire occasion signifies a brother's vow to protect his sister whereas a sister prays to God and give her blessings for the welfare of her brother.

Rituals and traditions regarding Bhaiya Dooj

To celebrate the occasion in a traditional style, sisters make a seat for their brothers by the flour of rice in order to complete the ceremony. A paste of Vermillion, dahi and rice is applied as a religious tika on the forehead of the brother. After this, the sister offers flower of Kaddu, betel leaves, betel nuts and coins in the palms of her brother and slowly chant the mantras by pouring water on the palm. The mantras or the prayer done to the Yama, the Death God says, "O Yamaraj, I am making this offering unto You."

After this, a Kalawa is tied onto the hand and the aarti is performed by the sister subsequently. A lamp facing the south direction is lit and it is considered a good omen to see a flying kite in the sky in order to get your wishes fulfilled. Brothers are also offered their favourite sweets along with the water to enjoy the delicacies. There is also the exchange of Bhai Dooj gifts among brother and sister on the occasion and blessings are taken from the elders.

Gifts and return gifts for the occasion

Every big and small celebration is incomplete without the presence of exciting gift items. As the occasion is a symbol of the strong sibling relationship, brothers and sisters need to look out for exceptional Bhai Dooj gifts from offline or online gifting store. While brothers can shop for special gift hampers, a box of chocolates, soft toys, personalised gifts and other items for their beloved sister on this auspicious occasion. Similarly, sisters can look for Bhai Dooj Pooja Thali, traditional sweets, exotic chocolate pack, personalised mug, cushion, photo frame, table lamp and other gifts to strengthen their sibling bonding to a great extent. This offering of gifts and return gifts by both brother and sister to each other has become an important part of the present day celebration of this special occasion among people.

Celebration of Bhaiya Dooj in various states of India

Below are the certain variations of the celebrations regarding the festival across India and outside.

Bihar- The celebration of the festival in Bihar is quite different and a little absurd. Here, sisters hurl choicest curses and abuses for their brothers and then prick their own tongue as a punishment along with asking forgiveness from them. Brothers in return bless their sisters and pray for their well-being.

West Bengal- The occasion is known as Bhai Phonta and falls on the first or second day of the Kali Puja festival. It includes a number of rituals along with a grand feast organised for the brothers. The festival involves both the brothers and sisters to be above 5 years of age. Sisters observe fast in the morning till the traditional ceremonies are completed. A tilak made of ghee, sandalwood (Chandan) and kohl (kajal) is applied on the brother's forehead to ask for his longevity from God. Among the traditional sweets, Kheer and coconut laddoos are some of the popular dishes for the occasion.

Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana and Goa- The Marathi speaking people of Maharashtra and Goa celebrate this sibling festival as Bhav Bij. Sisters draw a square on the floor where the brothers are made to sit after consuming a bitter fruit known as Karith. The festival is a great time for the family reunion, get together and to strengthen the brother-sisterly relationship. The occasion is also celebrated as Bhai Bij or Bhau Bij in Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, and Karnataka.In Gujarat, it is celebrated in the form of Bhai Beej with the application of traditional tilak and performing the special aarti or prayers.

For states like Maharashtra and Haryana where the festival is normally celebrated with great fervour and spirit. Sisters who do not have a brother, offer their worship to the moon God instead. Girls also apply Mehendi on their hands as a special tradition. Bhai Bij gifts are also exchanged among brothers and sisters as a token of love and affection and are considered as part of the celebration. Basundi Poori or Kheerni Poori and Shrikhand Poori are some of the popular dishes of the festival.

Bhai Tikka in Nepal- The occasion is celebrated in Nepal and is one of the most important festivals after Dashain (Vijaya Dashami/Dussehra). It is also known as Bhaitihar which means tihar of brothers. The festival is celebrated on the third day of the Tyohar festival. The occasion is celebrated with the special prayer to Yamraj by sisters for the well-being and longevity of their brothers. A seven coloured long Tika is also applied on the forehead of brothers by sisters. The occasion is also widely celebrated by the communities of Newari, Maithali, Tharu, Bahun and Chhetri in Nepal.