Bhai Bij or Bhai Duj
Joyous Bhai Dooj festival is popularly known as Bhai Bij / Bhai Beej or Bhai Duj in several places of India. Bhai Bij falls on the fifth or last day of five day long Diwali festival. This is the second day after the main Diwali day. While Bhai is the Hindi word for brother, the word 'Bij' and 'Dooj' means that Diwali falls on the second day after new moon. On Bhai Duj sisters apply tika on brother's forehead and pray for their long life. Brothers' reciprocate this affectionate gesture by blessing their sisters and showering them with Bhai Bij gifts of love.
Legend Behind Bhai Bij
Popular legend associated with Bhai Bij goes back to the Vedic times and narrates the story of Lord Yamaraj - the Hindu mythological God of Death and his twin sister Yami or Yamuna. Story goes that once Lord Yama met Yami after years of separation. On this occasion, Yami greeted her brother with warmth and love. She applied tilak on Yamaraj's forehead, performed arti of him and treated him with his favorite dishes. Yamaraj was so pleased with his sister's affection that he declared that whosoever receives tika from his sister on the auspicious Bhai Duj day will never be hurled to hell. From then on, brothers' visit their sisters on Dooj day and receive tika from them.
Bhai Bij Traditions and Customs
On the Bhai Bij day sisters wake up early on the day and prepare their brother's favorite dishes. She also arranges the auspicious Puja thali and dress up in festive clothes. Brothers' too take an early bath and visit their sisters house. A sister makes her brother sit on an asana to carry out the rituals. She applies tika and akshat on brothers' forehead, performs arti of him and puts a sweet in his mouth. While carrying out this simple ceremony sisters make a sincere prayer for the health and well being of her brother. Brother then reciprocates this loving gesture by blessing her sister and promising to protect her always.
Bhai Bij Celebrations
There is huge excitement amongst brothers and sisters to celebrate Bhai Bij festival. For them it is an occasion to strengthen the bond of love shared between them and relive happy moments shared in the past. Most brothers and sisters utilize the occasion to catch up with each others life and have a happy time together. Brothers and sisters indulge each other with Bhai Beej gifts and goodies and express their love. Sisters who are unable to meet their brothers send Bhai Duj gifts through post or through various online shopping sites and keep up the glory of this beautiful festival.