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Bhai Dooj is a very significant festival which is celebrated two days of after the Diwali festival. It is a festival which celebrates a special Brother-sister bond.
Bhai dooj is usually celebrated twice a year, once after the festival of Holi and once after the festival of Diwali. The festival is marked by a married sister visiting her brother and praying for his health and long life. In some places the brother visits the sister's house for celebrating the festival.
The Bhai Dooj after the diwali festival falls on the second day of the new moon in the month of Kathik.
Legend behind this festival
Here is the special significance and the mythological story behind Bhai Dooj. According to te story, the Lord of Death, Yamraj had visited his sister Yamuna on this day. She was overjoyed and welcomed him with aarti and a garland. She also offered him lots of sweets. Lord Yamraj returned his love by presenting her a gift. He was so impressed by his sister's love towards him that he declared this day to be celebrated as Bhai Dooj where all the sisters would do aarti and apply tilak on the forehead of their brothers and brothers should also return their love in the form of gifts. He also said that whoever received aarti and tilak from their sisters on this day, will never be defeated in life. Thus, this beautiful tradition is still carried on.
Another Legend says that this was the day when Lord Krishna returned home after defeating the Demon King Narakasura. Lord krishna's sister was very delighted on seeing her brother safely reached home and thus welcomed him with Aarti and a garland of flowers.
Celebration Of The Bhai Dooj Festival
On this festival, it is customary for all the sisters to meet their brother, though only for married sisters in some communities. Sisters wake up early in the morning and prepare the dishes favourite to their brothers. The brothers are then served the food prepared by their sisters. Afterwards, the sisters do aarti and tilak and pray for a long life and well being of their brothers, the brothers also take a woe to protect the honour of their sisters until death. After the aarti, sisters place a betel nut, betel leaves, coins and flowers on the palm of their brothers. In some places the ritual is performed using coconut. Then, some water is poured over the palms and sisters chant mantras and pray for the well-being of their brothers. A lamp is then lit facing the south direction and it is said that whatever the sister wishes for her brother on that day, is granted for sure. Sisters apply mehendi on their hands for the occasion. The brothers return the love by giving them gifts.
In some parts of the country, sisters can celebrate this festival even in the absence of their brother by praying before the moon. In this time where family relations take a back seat, these festivals are a way to take us back to our roots and help us strengthen the bond with our family better.