Diwali, the festival of lights, is not only a celebration of victory over darkness but also a time to cherish and strengthen the bonds of love and affection. Among the several customs and traditions associated with Diwali, Bhai Dooj holds a special place in the hearts of brothers and sisters. Let's delve into the history and significance of this cherished festival that falls on the fifth day of Diwali.
Bhai Dooj, also known as Bhau Beej or Bhaiya Dooj, is a festival that honors the unique relationship between siblings. It is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm across India and among the Indian diaspora around the world. The name "Bhai Dooj" itself signifies the essence of this festival, as "Bhai" means brother and "Dooj" refers to the second day after the new moon.
The history of Bhai Dooj dates back to ancient Hindu mythology. According to legend, Lord Yama, the God of Death, visited his sister Yami (also known as Yamuna) on this auspicious day. Yami warmly welcomed her brother and applied a tilak (vermilion mark) on his forehead as a symbol of love and protection. In return, Lord Yama bestowed blessings upon her and promised to protect her from all harm. This act of sibling love and devotion became the foundation of Bhai Dooj.
The significance of Bhai Dooj lies in its celebration of the bond between brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters perform aarti (a ritual of worship) for their brothers and apply a tilak on their foreheads. This tilak is made of vermillion, rice, and kumkum, symbolizing love, prosperity, and longevity. Sisters also pray for the well-being and success of their brothers.
In return, brothers shower their sisters with gifts as a token of their affection and gratitude. These gifts represent the brothers' promise to protect and support their sisters throughout their lives. It is a beautiful exchange that reinforces the deep bond of love and care between siblings.
Bhai Dooj is not only about the celebration of the existing sibling relationship but also about the renewal of vows. It is believed that the tilak applied by sisters on their brothers' foreheads has the power to ward off evil and bring good fortune. Brothers, in turn, take a pledge to safeguard their sisters' honor and well-being.
The festival of Bhai Dooj transcends its religious roots and has become a cherished cultural tradition in India. It is a time when families come together, relish delicious meals, and share joyous moments. The festival highlights the importance of family values and the significance of sibling love and support in one's life.
Bhai Dooj is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor in different parts of India. Customs and rituals may vary across regions. As Diwali approaches, the anticipation for Bhai Dooj grows, and families eagerly await this special occasion. It is a time to express gratitude for the unconditional love and support shared between brothers and sisters, a time to celebrate the unique and irreplaceable connection that they share.
So, as the festival of Diwali illuminates homes with the glow of diyas and lights up hearts with joy, Bhai Dooj adds an extra sparkle to the festivities by celebrating the beautiful bond of sibling love. It is a reminder of the enduring affection and the lifelong promise of protection and care that brothers and sisters hold for each other.