This year, yet another Hindu festival Bhaiya Dooj falls on October 21, Saturday. According to Gregorian calendar, it falls on the second day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Kartik.

Why do we celebrate Bhaiya Dooj?

There are many legends behind Bhaiya Dooj festival. One legend states that after getting married to Sun, Sangya (his wife) gave birth to twins (a baby boy and a baby girl) in course of a year. The twins were named Yama and Yamuna. Due to certain reason, Sangya left heaven and went back to earth leaving her shadow behind so that it would appear to Sun that she is still there. Chhaya was the shadow of Sangya and was the exact replica of her. Unfortunately, she turned out to be a cruel stepmother to the twins. After giving birth to her own children, she convinced Sun to drive out Yama and Yamuna from the heaven. Yamuna fell to the earth and became river and Yama went underground and became the king of death.

As years passed, both Yama and Yamuna started missing each other badly. One day, Yama decided to visit her sister Yamuna. When Yamuna came to know about this good news, she prepared a lavish feast and decorated her house in his brother’s honour. Yama was delighted by his sister’s warm welcome but he didn’t bring any gift for her. So, while returning back to his kingdom, he asked for her sister’s wish. Yamuna expressed her desire that anyone who receives a tilak from his sister on this day should be saved by the agony of hell-fire and the brother who eats with his sister on this occasion is blessed with a long and prosperous life by Yamaraj himself.

Another version states that after killing the demon Narkasur, Lord Krishna visited her sister Subhadra. That was the auspicious Bhaiya Dooj day. Subhadra welcomed him warmly and applied tilak on his forehead.

After Bhagwan Mahavir attained Nirvana, his brother King Nandivardhan went into depression due to the long absence of his brother. On this day, Nandivardhan’s sister Sudarshana gave him comfort and fulfilled the concern of an ideal sister.

Bhaiya Dooj: Common Practice

Nowadays, on Bhaiya Dooj, sisters take bath in the morning and pray to God for the health and happiness of their brothers. After performing the rituals, sisters apply vermillion and rice on the forehead of their brothers, offer them dry fruits, coconut and sweets. The ceremony ends with an aarti. Finally, brothers take blessings of their sisters and give them gifts as a token of love. Generally, sisters invite brothers to their homes for celebrating the occasion. Eating food at sister’s house is considered to be very auspicious for brothers on this day.

May this festival bring more warmth to the sacred bond of brother and sister. Happy Bhaiya Dooj to all.