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Picture of a brother and a sister celebrating bhai dooj. Wikimedia Commons

November 1, 2016: India is one of the very few countries where the love of brother-sister is celebrated twice a year with such splendor. We celebrate this bond with Raksha Bandhan and Bhai Dooj. Diwali’s last day is celebrated as Bhaiya Dooj. It is known by different names all across the country such as Bhai Phota, Bhau-deej in Bengal, Bhau Beej in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa and Ningol Chakuba in Manipur. In Nepal, Bhaiya Dooj is known as Bhai tihar. Sisters put a long, seven colored tika on their brother’s forehead and pray to Yamaraj for their long life and success.

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Also known as ‘Yama Dwiteeya’, Bhaiya Dooj celebrates the love of Yamaraj, the Lord of Death and the guardian of Hell, and his sister Yami. When Yamaraj came to visit Yami, she put a tilak on his forehead and prayed for his health and well-being. It is believed that anyone who has a tilak on his forehead, on this day, from his sister would never be punished in hell.

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This festival renews and reunites the love of siblings and strengthens their relationship when all the family members celebrate it together. Brothers and sisters remember their responsibilities during the festival. The whole family treats themselves all day by giving presents to each other. Sisters perform the ritual by putting a vermilion mark, tilak, on their brother’s forehead and perform aarti by showing him the holy flame’s light that marks the beauty of the relationship of brothers and sisters. Sisters pray for the health and well-being of their brother and brothers promise to protect their sister from any harm that comes her way.

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Nowadays, due to the busy schedule, many brothers are unable to celebrate this festival with their sisters. So the sisters send the tika, in an envelope by post. Bhaiya-Dooj e-cards and virtual tikas have helped the brothers and sisters, who live far away from each other, remember their siblings on this auspicious occasion

The core of this festival is to strengthen the love and connection between brothers and sisters by sharing of food, exchanging gifts, and reaching out to the deepest corners of the heart.

Prepared by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53


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