Bhai Dooj: the Festival of Siblings

Bhai dooj is a famous Hindu festival celebrated in India and Nepal. It falls on the last day of the Diwali celebration, which takes place for five days. The day is also the second day of the Shukla Pakshaor the bright fortnight of the Hindu lunar Karthika month. The festival is similar to the Raksha Bandhan. It is a day when the sisters pray for the long life and happiness of their brothers. The sisters perform a Tika Ceremony to their brothers by putting sacred red powder on the forehead of their brothers.

Bhai Dooj: the Festival of Siblings

Bhai Dooj: the Festival of Siblings

History of Bhai dooj

The festival is based on a Hindu mythological legend that Lord Krishna went to meet his sister Subhadra on this day after he killed the demon Narakasur. Subhadra welcomed him and pampered him with sweets and showered flowers on him. She also applied Tilak on Krishna’s forehead. Thus, the other sisters too followed the same through the history.

On this special day, sisters call their brothers to their home, feed them with delicious food, especially their favorite dishes, and they perform Arti to their brothers. The ceremony is a remembrance that a brother should protect his sister in difficult times whereas the sisters bless their brothers. In return to their sister’s love and prayers, the brothers too give blessings and gifts to their sisters.

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If the sister and brother live faraway and cannot meet, she sends the message of her love and prayers through the Moon. The sister performs Arti to the moon. May be, this is why the young children call the moon as Chanda Mama;‘chanda’ means the ‘moon,’‘mama’ is an ‘uncle’ or ‘mom’s brother.’

Different names

There are different names for the Bhai dooj festival throughout India. In Haryana and Maharashtra, it is called as Bhaubeej. Here, women, who do not have a brother, worship the moon. The girls apply mehndi on their palm and wear new clothes.

The festival is called as Bhai ponta in West Bengal. In Haryana, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Goa, it is called as Bhai bij.

In Nepal, the festival is called as Bhai tika. It is a very important festival after Dusshera. It is also known as Bhai tihar in Nepal. Tihar means festival. The sisters pray Lord Yamraj for the long life of their brothers. Another specialty in Nepal is that the sisters will put a Tika on their brother’s forehead. The Tika will be of seven colours and long. Another name for the festival is Yama dvitiya, which signifies the meeting of Lord of death Yama with his sister Yamuna, the River. Some other names of the festival are Bhatriditya and Bhatrudviteeya.


Special dishes like kheer, dahibhalle, gajar ka halwa, kaju barfi, malpua, pakora and many more are made to mark the festivity. These dishes are prepared by sisters especially for their brothers with lots of love and care. They feed their brothers heartily and get the blessings from them.

Bhai Dooj is a time when the family reunites to spend some fun time together. The brothers and sisters look forward to this festival as they can meet their siblings and show their love.