Bhai Dooj Festival
Bhai dooj festival falls in October or November every year; the date is not fixed and is calculated by pundits. It falls on the new moon night approximately one day after Diwali. The word “Bhai” means brother and the word ‘Dooj’ refers to the second day of the new moon. It literally means the day of the brother. The sister performs an Arti and applies a vermillion tikka to her brother’s forehead. He in turn showers her with presents and vows to look after her till the end of his days. The festival celebrates this sacred bond of love between brother and sister.
A number of legends surround the celebration of Bhai dooj. Legend has it that Yamraj; the god of death visited his sister Yamuna on this day. She applied tikka on his forehead and they exchanged presents. Yamraj then declared that anyone who received a tikka from his sister would never be thrown to the fires of hell. Ever since, we celebrate Bhai Dooj.
Another legend goes that Lord Krishna went to his sister, Subhadra's house, after annihilating Narakasura, the demon. She welcomed him with Arti (lamp), flowers and sweets. After the prayers she put the Tikka, (holy protective tilak), on his forehead. From that day onwards, the festival of Tikka is celebrated as a mark of affection between brothers and sisters. Following these legends, it has become the tradition that it is the brother who goes to his sister's house to celebrate Bhai Dooj festival.