Bhai Dooj Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
With less than a month to go for Diwali, which for a big chunk of us is the most exciting time of the year, things are getting cheerier! After all, the Festival of Lights is like no other. We all share in the delight of this good time and partake in its happiness. Lighting firecrackers, getting to finally go home and meet your family after months of being apart, reuniting with cousins and friends, devouring the most mouth-watering delicacies and sweets...what is there not to love about this holiday?
However, although we're all accustomed to seeing the time of Diwali as an annual holiday and a reason to go back home, not all of us know about in detail. Sure, we all know that it represents the theme of goodness's victory over evil, new beginnings and so on...
We know that it stands for the much-awaited return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile...
We're aware of how the day of Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu Calendar...
The festivities include everything from cooking scrumptious treats, gambling to lighting chakris, rockets and anars...
But did you know that Diwali is actually a 5-day long festival? Yes, you read that right! It goes on for 5 whole days and does not just comprise of the two days of Diwali and Chota Diwali (the day right before Diwali).
The festivities of Diwali go on for 5 to 6 days. Each day has its own tale to tell. The festivities begin with Dhanteras, which is also known as 'Dhanvantari Triodasi'. The name comes from two words 'dhan' and 'tera', which stands for 'wealth' and 'thirteen', as it on the thirteenth day of the Hindu calendar. It is a day devoted to celebrating wealth. People usually buy gold and utensils around this time. Some also worship Lord Ganesha, Lord Kuber and Goddess Lakshmi on this day. Dhanteras is preceded by houses and business premises being thoroughly cleaned and renovated or painted.
After this, on the second day, comes 'Choti Diwali', which is also often referred to as 'Naraka Chaturdasi'. Naraksura was killed on this day by Krishna, Satyabhama and Kali. In south India, Diwali is celebrated on this day itself, whereas for the rest of India, it is the day after this that is considered as the main festival. People draw rangolis outside their homes and burst crackers. In Bengal, Orissa and Assam, Kali puja is celebrated widely on this day too.
The main festival is on the third day, which this year falls on 19 October. People light diyas and candles all around their homes, set off fireworks, exchange sweets and gifts and of course, perform Lakshmi Pooja together! This day marks the Hindu New Year.
The fourth day involves businessmen opening new accounts for the financial year and it also remembers the God Bali who had been sent to the lower realm.
The fifth and final day is known as 'Bhai Duj' or 'Bhaiya Duj' and is mainly devoted to celebrating sisters. Siblings get to celebrate the bond between them. Although this festival is similar to Rakhi, the rituals are quite different. Throughout the day, women get together and perform a puja for the well-being of their brothers. Gift giving and eating good food follow! If you're wondering about Bhai Dooj and the importance it holds in our lives, why it is celebrated and so on, worry no more! Sit back, relax and enjoy our informative read about all there is to know about this festival.
Q. What is Bhai Dooj?
A. Bhai Dooj is a festival that is devoted to celebrating the bond between brothers and sisters. It is part of the 5 day long festival of Diwali celebrated in October or November every year.
Q. Why is Bhai Dooj celebrated?
A. There are primarily three tales that are said to be the reason why we celebrate this day every year. The first tale says that Yamraj, the Lord of Death, visited his sister Yami on this day. She welcomed him warmly by applying a tilak on his forehead. In the Rig Veda, Lord Yama's twin is Yami. After having spent a long time apart, Yama visited his sister's home, only to be left extremely impressed with her hospitality. Yami welcomed her brother and put a tilak on his forehead. Yamraj offered her his blessing and then declared that if a brother greets his sister on this day, his sister would have a long life.
There is one more story that is connected to Bhagwan Mahavir. After Mahavir attained nirvana, his brother, Raja Nandivardhan, felt depressed and dejected due to his long absence. He was comforted by Sudarshana, his sister. Ever since, Bhai Dooj has been dedicated to the caring spirit of sisters.
There is further another story behind this celebration too. It is said that after Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasur, he visited his sister Subhadra on dooj day, which means the second day after the new moon. She gave him a traditional, affectionate welcome by anointing him with tilak.
Q. When is Bhai Dooj this year?
A. This Year, Bhai Dooj will be celebrated on 21 October.
Q. When is Bhai Dooj usually celebrated?
A. Bhai Dooj is always celebrated on the Dooj Day, the second day after the new moon day of Diwali.
Q. What are the rituals performed on Bhai Dooj?
A. All in all, this day signifies the duty of a brother to protect his sister, along with the sister offering her blessing for him. Sisters invite their brother over on this day, with an array of sweets and delicacies prepared. Like most Indian traditional ceremonies sisters perform aarti for their brother and apply a red tika on the brother's forehead. This tika ceremony on the occasion of Bhai Bij stands for the sister's praying for the long and happy lives of their brothers. They also often treat their brothers with gifts. In return, brothers bless their sisters and may treat them also with gifts or cash.
In certain states like Haryana and Maharashtra women who do not have any brothers worship the moon god instead in order not to miss out on the holy occasion of 'Bhau-Beej', as it is called there. Many women also choose to apply mehndi around this time.
Q. Is Bhai Dooj celebrated all over India? Is it known by different names?
A. Yes, this festival is celebrated all over the nation. However, it is known by a number of regional names.
In North India, 'Bhai Dooj' is celebrated widely. It takes place during the festival of Diwali and this day is also the second day of the Vikrami Samvat New Year.
In Nepal, it is the most important festival after Dashain (Vijaya Dashmi / Dussehra). Observed on the third day from Tyohar festival, it is widely celebrated by Newari, Tharu, Bahun and Chhetri people.
In Bengal, 'Bhai Ponta' is celebrated on the first or the second day of the Kalo Puja Festival every year.
The Festival is also known by the names of Bhai Bij, Bhau Beej, or Bhav Bij amongst the Gujarati, Marathi and Konkani-speaking communities in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.
Q. Are there any interesting tales or legends related to the festival?
An interesting aspect about 'Bhai Ponta' celebrated in West Bengal is that although it is celebrated with much pomp and joy, with a feast being prepared for all brothers, it is mandatory for the age difference between a brother and a sister to be of five years, at least! First, there is puja performed by the sister who religiously fasts for her brother, applies a 'phota or phonta' or mark with sandalwood paste on his forehead, offers him sweets and gifts and prays for his long and healthy life.
Q. Is this festival celebrated by only Hindus?
Bhai Dooj is primarily celebrated by Hindus in India during the Diwali Festival. It is also usually celebrated by Hindus in Nepal while Tihar Festival is going on.
Q. Do people make rangolis on this day?
Absolutely! In India, rangolis are made widely by families on any day that is auspicious. All throughout the 5 day long festival of Diwali, rangolis are made with much fervour to add to the celebrations.
Q. What special food is prepared on this day?
Like for any other Indian festival, a number of mouthwatering, tasty sweets are prepared around this time. Gulab Jamun, Laddoos, Barfi...take your pick! A few other special dishes for the festival also include the Maharashtrian sweet called basundi poori or kheerni poori.
Q. Are Rakhi and Bhai Dooj similar festivals?
Rakhi is a festival that marks the celebration of the sacred bond between a brother and a sister. It celebrates their unconditional love. Known as 'Raksha Bandhan', the word 'Raksha' means protection and the word 'Bandhan' stands for bond. On this occasion, a sister ties a rakhi on her brother's wrist. This Rakhi is a sacred thread and it signifies her wishes for his prosperity and happiness. The brother, in turn, takes a vow to protect his sister for her whole life and gives a loving present to her too. All in all, the festival of Rakhi symbolises the unconditional love between a brother and a sister and their duties towards each other. Although Rakhi and Bhai Dooj are extremely similar and signify the same ideals, the reasons for celebrating these two festivals are different.
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Q. What is Yama Dwitiya?
In South India, the day of Bhai Dooj is known as Yama Dwitiya! It is named so after a legendary meeting between Yama the god of Death and his sister Yamuna (the famous river in India) on Dwitheya, which is the second day after new moon. It is also known as Bhatru Dviteeya or Bhatri Ditya.
Q. Does Bigsmall deal in Corporate Diwali Gifts?
Yes, we cater to all type of corporate queries for Diwali or any other festival in general. Simply shoot out an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll help you in a jiffy with the most unique corporate gift ideas curated to your attention.
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