Bhai Dooj 2018: Dhanteras, Chhoti Diwali and Diwali are over, and it’s Govardhan Puja today. The Diwali festival celebrated over five days will come to an end on 9 November with Bhai Dooj, a Hindu festival commemorating the love between a brother and a sister.

Bhai Dooj, also called known as Bhaiya Dooj, is known as Bhai Phonta in West Bengal, Bhau Beej in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa, Yama Dwitiya in southern parts of the country, and Bhai Teeka in Nepal. While different regions celebrate the festival in different ways, sisters applying a tilak on the forehead of their brothers in common to most.

Bhai Dooj date, puja timing

Bhai Dooj will be celebrated on 9 November 2018.

Bhai Dooj tika or tilak muhurat: 1:09 pm to 3:17 pm
Dwitiya tithi begins: 9:07 pm on 8 November
Dwitiya tithi ends: 9:20 pm on 9 November
(Source: Drikpanchang.com)

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Bhai Dooj rituals

On Bhai Dooj, brothers visit their sisters who apply a ‘tika’ or ’tilak’ on their foreheads and offer prayers to gods for their long life and prosperity. They also perform an aarti and offer sweets. In return, the brothers give them gifts and promise to protect them.

The festival has similarities with Raksha Bandhan, and the ritual is followed by an elaborate feast with the sisters usually cooking up a storm to treat the brothers with the food they love.

Bhai Dooj history and significance

Bhai Dooj claims to have its origin in mythology, and there are several myths and folklores associated with the festival.

According to one legend, God of Death Yamraj had once visited his sister Yamuna, or Yami, on this day. Yamuna welcomed him with an aarti and applied a ’tilak’ on his forehead. It was her tilak that apparently made Yamraj immortal. Moved by her love, Yamraj declared that any brother who would receive an ‘aarti’ and ’tilak’ from his sister on this day should not be afraid of death as he would not go to hell.

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According to another story, the festival has its origin in Lord Krishna’s killing demon king Narakasur. After slaying the evil, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra, who welcomed him with sweets and flowers, applied a tilak and performed an aarti. This particular gesture of Subhadra warmed Krishna’s heart and he blessed her with many boons. Happy with Subhadra’s gesture, Krishna blessed her with many boons. Ever since, all sisters started applying tilak on their brothers’ foreheads praying for their long life.

In Haryana, a special ritual is followed on this day. A sacred thread is tied on a dry coconut, locally called gola, which is used at the time of aarti.

In Bengal, where the festival is celebrated as Bhai Phonta, sisters chant a special mantra while applying tilak on their brothers’ foreheads. The mantra speaks of a sister’s prayer seeking immortality for her bother, “just like Yamuna had ensured for her bother Yamraj”.

Here’s wishing everyone a happy Bhai Dooj 2018!