Bhaubeej / Bhav Bij
Bhaubeej or Bhav Bij is how the Marathi speaking people of Maharashtra and Goa know the popular festival of Bhai Dooj. The festival celebrates the pious and beautiful relationship shared between a brother and a sister. On this day sisters pray for the health and long life of their brother. Brothers too bless their sisters and vow to protect them against all hardships in life. Bhaubeej falls on the fifth and last day of Diwali festival. This corresponds to the second day of the Shukla Paksha or the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartik (October - November).
Legend of Bhaubij
A popular legend in Maharashtra goes that after slaying the demon Narakasura, Lord Krishna went to meet sister Subhadra. Krishna received an exceptionally warm welcome from her. Subhadra showered flower on Krishna to celebrate his victory. She also applied tilak on his forehead, performed arti of him and gave him sweets to eat. Since then the custom of celebrating Bhaubeej is being religiously carried out in Hindu households.
Rituals and Traditions of Bhav Beej
It is customary for brothers to visit their sister's house on Bhav Beej. Sister's welcome their brother with affection and enthusiasm. To celebrate the festival sisters in Maharashtra and Goa prepare a square shaped space on the floor. This square is artistically decorated with corn powder. However, before the brother is asked to step into the square he is given a bitter fruit to eat which is called Karith in Marathi. This is because people believe that Lord Krishna ate Karith before he set out to kill the demon Narkasura.
Performing the traditional rituals of Bhaubeej sisters apply sacred red tilak on the forehead of brothers, take arti of him and give him a sweet to eat. This simple ceremony is symbolic of sisters sincerest prayers to the divine for the health and well being of her brother. Brothers too bless his sister and promises to support her in thick and thin.
In Maharashtra it is considered customary to celebrate the auspicious Bhau Beej festival. Sisters who do not have a brother worship Moon God as celebrate they must.
Festival of Bhaubeej is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm by brothers and sisters of Maharashtra and Goa. The festival is celebrated as family reunion day as people meet up with brothers and sisters. In joint families this is particularly a joyful occasion as there is an extended family get together. The festival, therefore, helps to strengthen family ties. A special Maharashtrian sweet called Basundi Poori or Shrikhand Poori is the must part of Bhaubeej celebrations. Exchange of Bhaubeej Gifts between brothers and sisters heightens the excitement for the day.