As the high-voltage celebration of Diwali slowly fades away, comes the serene and loving festivity of Bhai Dooj. It is almost as same as RakshaBandhan. In Bengal Bhai Dooj is known as Bhai Phonta while in Gujarat it is known as Bhai Beej; Maharashtrians call it as BhavBij while in other states it is mentioned as Bhaiya (Brother) Duj (Second Day after new moon). Let us check out some interesting facts about this special event.
1. When does it occur?
Bhai Dooj occurs on the new moon night. This year Bhai Dooj will be celebrated on 21st October.
2. Why is it celebrated?
There is an interesting mythological story behind the celebration of Bhai Dooj. As per a popular folklore, once upon a time there lived a family in an Indian village. The family had an elder sister and brother who had a strong bonding between them. But when the sister got married the brother was left alone. He missed his sister especially during the festivities. One day he asked his mother why his sister did not visit them to which the mother replied that there was a dense forest between the two villages and hence his sister did not dare cross the jungle.
The brother decided to cross the forest to meet his sister. During his travel through the forest he faced many dangers and each time prayed to let him go and eat him when he returns; the dangers trusted him and let him go. When he reached his sister’s home she embraced him and treated him with great love and affection.
After staying with his sister for few days he decided to return and informed that he would be dead soon. The sister decided to make the journey with her brother and packed all the possible offerings to satisfy the dangers; like when they confronted the snake she offered milk, when they met the tiger she offered meat and so on.
Like this they successfully crossed the forest and at last the sister went to the nearby river to fetch water. Here she met some gypsies who predicted that her brother is still not out of danger. They advised her to abuse and curse the brother and asked her to get the brother married and perform all the rituals of marriage first. When they reached the village the sister started abusing the brother and the whole village was shocked with this transformation. They asked the sister to leave as soon as possible. When the brother got ready for marriage the sister demanded to tie the sehra before her brother; she found a snake in the sehra and thus saved her brother.
During pheras as the evil forces were about to take the brother away the sister kept abusing the brother and thus the evil forces fled away and the brother was saved.
After the marriage ceremony was over the sister revealed the entire truth to the villagers and left. Everyone prayed for the wellbeing of the sister and this marked the beginning of Bhai Dooj.
3. How is it celebrated?
On the occasion of Bhai Dooj sisters draw a square on the floor where the brothers sit; then they apply tilak on the forehead of their brothers. After that an aarti is performed in front of the brother to pray for his wellbeing. Then they exchange gifts with each other.
4. What are the special cuisines of Bhai Dooj?
Basundi Poori and Shirkhand Poori are the special dishes served on this occasion along with lots of sweets or mithai. Then of course the menu varies region-wise.
Participate in this sacred festival this year and let love grow between your siblings.