Diwali 2017 Day 6: Bhai Dooj

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Diwali 2017 Day 6: Bhai Dooj

In 2017, Bhai Dooj falls on October 21.

The red tika marks the start of happiness, well-being and prosperity for the rest of your brother's life. It is celebrated in nearly every state, with a different name.

Another fresh Bhai Dooj is here Another year to live!

LegendAccording to Hindu mythology, the God of death Yama visited his sister Yamuna (Yami) on Dwitheya, the second day of the new moon. This mark signifies that her brother will always be there to protect her and his sister will always be there to pray for him. She even made special arrangements of flowers and candies. Yamraj declared that brothers who visit their sisters on this day and receive an aarti and tilak from them need not fear death and will lead a prosperous and long life.

The "tika" can also be known as a "tilak" or "tilaka". His sister was married to a prince by that time and Yamraj was warmly welcomed in their house.

Jainism has a story behind this festival as well. It is believed when Mahavir, the founder of this religion attained nirvana and cut off contact from his family, his brother Nandivardhan was very disturbed with his decision. He missed his brother a lot and was comforted by his sister Sudarshana, who helped him come back to normal life. Hence, many tribute this festival to this sibling story.

RitualThe ceremony begins with sisters putting a tilak on the forehead of their brothers and perform an aarti as a mark of love and protection from evil forces.

In return, sisters are lavished with presents and blessings from their brothers. At many places, flowers of kaddu (pumpkin), betel leaves, betel nut and coins are also placed in brother's hand after the tilak.

The candies and special delicacies prepared on this occasion can also be region specific. It is an important festival in West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The names may differ but the essence of the festival remains the same. Unlike Raksha Bandhan where the festival denotes the tying of Rakhi and signifies that the brother will protect the sister, here no rakhi is tied and the sister in a way provides the protection for the brother by praying to the Gods and Goddesses for his prosperity and long life. On this day sisters pray for their brothers and apply tilak on their foreheads, and the siblings and cousins exchange gifts. It reunites and renews the love and relationship of brothers and sisters.

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