SHUB BHAI DOOJ – The sixth day of Diwali

SHUB BHAI DOOJ – Second day after Diwali

Bhai Dooj or Bhaiya Dooj is observed on the second day after Diwali celebrations which is the second day of the emergence of the new moon. This day commemorates the sacred relationship shared between a brother and sister. Sisters apply tilak on the foreheads of their brothers and pray for their prosperity and longevity.

Although, there are no texts stating the official tale related to the origin of Bhai Dooj. However, it is believed that after killing the demon Narakasura on the day which is now celebrated as Diwali. Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra who welcomed him by applying a tilak on his forehead. Since then, this day is celebrated as Bhai Dooj.

Another folklore states that on this day the lord of death, Yamaraja visited his sister, Yami who welcomed him with flowers, and sweets and applied tilak on his forehead. In return, the lord of death presented her with a gift which reflected his affection for her.

Why is Bhai Dooj called Yama Dwitiya?

Bhai Dooj is called Yama Dwitiya in the southern part of India. This name has been derived from the legend of Yama, who is the God of death and his sister Yami or Yamuna. According to this folklore, Yama met his sister on Dwitheya, which is the second day after the new moon. This particular incident started to be celebrated as “Yamadvitiya” or “Yamadwitheya” throughout the country. From that day onwards, some people in the country celebrate Bhai Dooj as Yama Dwitiya.

Which God is Worshipped in Bhai Dooj?

Devotees take a bath early in the morning and worship Yama, Lord Ganesha, Chitragupta, Yamuna and the many messengers of Yama. There are numerous mantras that are chanted along with worshipping the deities.

Ritual of Dry Coconut

Giving dry coconut to brothers is considered a symbol of auspiciousness during Bhai Dooj. It is believed that when Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra after prevailing over demon King Narakasura, she embraced him with a warm welcome, flowers and sweets. She then applied tilak on Krishna’s forehead and gave him the dry coconut.

Other Rituals

  • The thali from which the brother is worshipped is beautifully decorated. The thali has fruits, sandalwood, vermilion, flowers, betel nuts and sweets.
  • According to traditions, sisters usually make a seat of rice flour for their brothers or he is seated on a Bajat which is a little well decorated platform. The brothers sit on these seats for the sisters to perform their rituals.
  • Sisters pour water on their brother’s palms while reciting the holy mantra and tie kalava on their hands. Then, tilak is applied to the forehead.
  • After the tilak is applied, flowers of betel nut, Kaddu, betel leaves and coins are placed on the brother’s palms.
  • The sisters then perform the Aarti. Seeing a flying kite in the sky is often considered a good omen.
  • After the Aarti and Tilak are completed, the brother gives his sister a gift and pledges to protect her life.

Brothers meet their sisters on Bhai Dooj and complete the custom of ‘Bhagni Hasti Bhojanam’. In this custom, the brothers have to eat the food sisters prepare for them. It is said that this tradition was started by the God of death, Lord Yama.

Is there any Holiday on Bhai Dooj?

Bhai Dooj is not a mandatory holiday in India. It is an optional holiday provided in the private sector, employees can choose to take a day off on this festival. However, most businesses and offices remain open on Bhai Dooj.

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