Bhau Beej

  This is the second day of the bright fortnight, Yamadwitiya or Shukla Paksha of the Hindu lunar month of Kartika. It is known by different names in different parts of the country. In Maharashtra and Goa it is known as Bhau Beej, Bhai dooj in the Northern part of India, Bhai Phota in Bengal and Bhai Tika in Nepal. Bhai means brother and dooj means second day post new moon and hence this festival symbolizes the duty of the brother to protect his sister as well as a sister’s blessings for her brother. It is a celebration of the bond of everlasting love and affection between a brother and his sister. Typically, the sister invites her brother for a meal on this day. According to the tradition A red Tilak of Kumkum is applied on the forehead and the sister prays for the long life, peace and prosperity of her brother. The tilak is an auspicious mark and the Arti performed by the holy flame of the Niranjan is a mark of the sisterly love that is considered to protect her brother from the evil and obstacles in life.   In Bengal this day is observed as Bhai Phonta where the sister fasts until she puts the auspicious mark of sandalwood paste on the forehead of her brother.   Bhaitika in Nepal is also known as Bhai tihar meaning tihar of brothers. On this day, sisters pray to Yamraj for her brother’s long life and prosperity and apply a seven colored long Tika on the forehead of their brothers. The women who do not have a brother or who cannot meet their brother on Bhau-beej worship the moon instead. This is the reason why the moon is addressed as Chandamama where mama means mother’s brother. Legend has it that since this day falls on Yamadwitiya, Lord Yama visits his sister Yami who performs the Arti of her brother and prays for his well-being and prosperity. According to the other legend, it is said that Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra after vanquishing the demon Narakasura, and she welcomed him with a victor’s Tilak, flowers and sweets on this day. Bhau Beej is the time for a family reunion as all the brothers and sisters in the family get together. Close relatives and friends are also invited to celebrate Bhau Beej in several families. Delectable Basundi Poori and Shrikhand Poori is relished along with several other festival special dishes.  

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