Day 5 – The final day of the Diwali Festivities – Bhai Dooj – The day of love between siblings

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15th Nov, 2023

The festival of Bhai Dooj has a literal meaning attached to it. It is made up of two words namely- “Bhai” meaning brother and “Dooj” meaning the second day after the new moon which is a day of its celebration.

Bhai Dooj or the teeka, as it is popularly known in the North & West India, celebrates the unconditional love bond between a brother and a sister.

According to one of the popular legends, Bhai Dooj is associated with Lord Yama (the God of Death) and his sister, Yamuna. And this tale, pays tribute to the bond between the siblings.

Surya Dev (the Sun God) had two children from Goddess Saranya- son Yama & a daughter Yamuna.

Despite being married to the Sun God, Saranya couldn’t endure the heat produced by him. Hence, with her divine powers, she created Chhaya, a woman who was identical to her in appearance. And soon after giving form to Chhaya, Saranya asked her to look after her children. Subsequently, she left her marital home forever.

However, Chhaya failed to shower motherly love on the children & hence Yama and Yamuna had to take care of each other.

As the two siblings grew up, Yamuna would often visit her brother’s house & invite him home. But Yama would always give lame excuses citing his busy schedule.

One day, he decided to surprise her. He visited her house & his arrival made Yamuna beam with joy. She greeted him by putting tilak on his forehead & showering the Akshat on him. She also prepared the choicest food for him.

Before leaving, when Yama urged his sister to ask for a boon, she requested her brother to dedicate the day of his visit to siblings.

Another legend involves Lord Krishna. When he returned home after killing the devil Narkasur, his sister, Subhadra applied a tilak on his forehead and prayed for his long life. From that day onwards, it became a tradition to apply tilak on the forehead of the brother and in return the brother presents his sister with an enticing gift.

Since then, brothers would visit their sister’s home, get blessed with the tilak, enjoy a feast, spend time with them & return with her unconditional love and best wishes.

One might find it vague, but in the state of Bihar, on the occasion of Bhai Dooj, the sister scolds her brother & even abuses him & later apologises to him. This is done to vindicate the brother from his past sins. After this custom has taken place, the sister applies tilak and offers sweets to the brother.

Through Bhai Dooj, or Teeka, the sister wishes health, longevity and well-being of her brothers.

The unbroken rice grains added to teeka represent steadfastness and firmness of the brain and also a symbol of peace.

The basic idea of applying teeka is to pray to the Lord to protect her brother from the evil effects existing in this world – from its binding cords.

Let’s Celebrate Bhai Dooj as a gesture of the love & bonding between siblings & stay blessed forever!