Bhai Dooj is a popular Hindu festival that celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. Observed on the second lunar day of Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartika, Bhai Dooj is also known as Bhau Beej, Bhathru Dwithiya, Bhai Phota and Bhai Tika.
As a result, Bhai Dooj is celebrated twice a year, once in the month of October or November and then in April or May. This year, Bhai Dooj will be celebrated on Sunday, November 15, 2023. On this auspicious day, sisters apply tilak on their brother’s forehead and perform his aarti to pray for his long and happy life. In return, brothers give gifts to their sisters as a token of their love.
History and Significance
The festival has an interesting history behind it. According to Hindu mythology, after killing the demon Narkasura, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra. She warmly welcomed him by applying tilak on his forehead and performing his aarti. Lord Krishna was deeply touched by this gesture and declared that whoever receives tilak and aarti from his sister on this day will be blessed. This marked the beginnings of the Bhai Dooj festival.
Another story relates to Yama, the God of Death and his sister Yamuna. When Yama visited Yamuna on Bhai Dooj after a long separation, she welcomed him with tilak and aarti. Moved by her love, Yama declared that whoever receives tilak from his sister on this day will attain salvation.
Therefore, Bhai Dooj signifies the special bond between brothers and sisters and celebrates sibling love. Sisters pray for the long and prosperous life of their brothers while brothers vow to protect their sisters. It is a day that brings families together and strengthens relationships.
Furthermore, Bhai Dooj is also known as Yama Dwitiya. Yama is believed to visit his sister Yamuna only on this day and anyone who sees him then gets freed from sins and goes to heaven. Hence, brothers visit their married sisters on Bhai Dooj to receive this benefit.
When is Bhai Dooj Celebrated?
As mentioned earlier, Bhai Dooj is celebrated twice a year based on the Hindu lunar calendar.
The first Bhai Dooj celebration occurs in the month of Kartik, which usually falls in October or November according to the Gregorian calendar. This year it falls on Wednesday, November 15, 2023.
The second Bhai Dooj celebration takes place in the month of Vaisakha, which falls somewhere in April or May.
Both dates are determined by the occurrence of the new moon, which signifies the second lunar day of the bright fortnight or Shukla Paksha in both months.
Bhai Dooj Customs and Traditions
Bhai Dooj celebrations involve several customs and rituals followed by brothers and sisters. Here are some of the most significant ones:
Tilak Ceremony-Marking the Bond with Vermilion
On the morning of Bhai Dooj, sisters apply tilak or vermilion paste on their brother’s forehead. It is the most important ritual that gives Bhai Dooj its name. Sisters first draw an auspicious tilak symbol using kumkum powder and then place rice grains over it. This is believed to signify the sister’s prayers for her brother’s prosperity and long life.
After tilak, sisters perform aarti for their brothers. This involves moving an aarti plate clockwise around the brother while ringing a bell and singing prayers. The aarti plate has an oil lamp or candle with flowers on it. Sisters offer sweets and gifts to their brothers after the aarti.
Savoring the Sweetness of Sibling Love
No Indian festival is complete without the joyous exchange of sweets. Bhai Dooj is no exception. Dive into the delightful world of traditional Indian sweets and discover why these delectable treats hold a special place in the hearts of siblings during this festive occasion.
Exchange of Gifts
Brothers present their sisters with thoughtful Bhai Dooj gifts as a token of love. Sisters also gift their brothers special items or sweets. Families dress up in new traditional attire and exchange gifts during family gatherings on this day.
Sisters prepare delicious food and sweets for their brothers on Bhai Dooj. Local delicacies are made and often the brother’s favorite dishes are included in the feast. Brothers also give treats to their sisters and their families.
Brothers make it a point to visit their married sisters on the day of Bhai Dooj. This strengthens the bond between siblings even after the sister is married. Married sisters host their brothers and perform tilak and aarti for them.
Regional Variations in Celebrating Bhai Dooj
While the main rituals of Bhai Dooj remain the same, they differ slightly across states and communities of India:
In Haryana, it is customary for brothers to visit their sister’s place for a grand lunch on Bhai Dooj.
In Assam, sisters fast all day until they apply tilak on their brother’s forehead in the evening.
In West Bengal, Bhai Dooj is known as Bhai Phota where the tilak ceremony involves sandalwood paste.
In Goa, floral garlands are exchanged between brothers and sisters along with gifts.
In Maharashtra, brothers give gifts to their cousins andextended family members as well.
In Odisha, brothers pledge to protect their sisters during future adversities on this day.
In Gujarat, Bhai Beej is performed through a puja and feast.
Bhau Beej Gifts 2023: Give ‘Ya’ Special Gifts to Sister on Bhau Beej, Double the Festive Joy
Bhai Dooj is incomplete without the exchange of loving gifts between brothers and sisters. On this special occasion, brothers present their sisters with thoughtful gifts as a token of their love, affection and appreciation. Sisters also surprise their brothers with sweet presents.
Exchanging Bhai Dooj gifts strengthens the bonds between brothers and sisters and spreads smiles during the festivities. As Bhai Dooj 2023 falls on Wednesday, November 15, it’s time to start thinking about special gift ideas to double the festive joy this year!
Here are some thoughtful Bhai Dooj gift ideas for sisters:
Traditional Jewelry for Bhai Dooj
Indian jewelry makes for an excellent Bhai Dooj gift for sisters. Opt for timeless gold and diamond jewelry or stylish silver pieces accented with precious stones. Traditional kundan and polki sets also make regal presents.
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Designer Sarees and Kurtis
Pamper your sister this Bhai Dooj with elegant designer sarees and kurtis. Opt for luxurious Banarasi or Bandhani silk sarees, ornate Chanderi sarees or stylish georgette and chiffon sarees in her favorite colors. Trendy kurtis and ethnic suits also make chic gifts.
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Makeup and Beauty Essentials
Gift your beauty-loving sister a glamorous makeup hamper this Bhai Dooj. Include lipsticks, eyeshadow palettes, nailpolish sets, perfumes and other beauty accessories she adores. Bundled beauty gift sets make presenting easy.
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Handbags and Wallets
Fashionable handbags are a great Bhai Dooj gift idea for sisters. Pick stylish totes, sling bags, clutches and potlis from premium brands like Hidesign, Lavie and Caprese. Branded wallets and purses also make practical gifts.
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Surprise your sister by adding elegant accents to her home this Bhai Dooj. Choose tables lamps, photo frames, vases, wall art and other home accessories in her taste. Cushion covers, bedsheets and showpieces also make thoughtful home decor gifts.
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Make your sister feel extra special this Bhai Dooj with personalized gift ideas. Get mugs, cushions, jewelry or t-shirts customized with a loving quote, her name or a cute photo. A personalized gift captures fond memories!
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Gift Cards and Vouchers
Struggling for gift ideas? Gift cards and online shopping vouchers make convenient Bhai Dooj presents for sisters. She can shop for her favorite fashion brands, restaurants, spas and more. Add a handwritten note to make it more personal.
Sweets and Chocolates
Indulge your sister’s sweet tooth this Bhai Dooj with decadent chocolates and mithai. Tempt her with rich chocolate truffles, dry fruits sweets, motichoor laddoos and other traditional Indian confections. Sweets make a small but thoughtful Bhai Dooj gift.
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This Bhai Dooj, express your cherished bond with your sister by exchanging heartfelt presents. Pick gifts that align with her personality, interests and sense of style. Your love and thoughtfulness will surely make her day brighter!
Bhai Dooj is a festival that celebrates the special and pure bond between brothers and sisters. It involves meaningful rituals like tilak and aarti that symbolize the sibling’s prayers and blessings for one another. Brothers and sisters dress up in new clothes, exchange thoughtful gifts, savor festive sweets and enjoy grand feasts on this day.
While the essence of Bhai Dooj remains the same, the festivities differ slightly in various states of India with their own local rituals and traditions. But everywhere, families come together to strengthen their bonds of love that transcend all other relationships.
As we prepare to celebrate Bhai Dooj on Sunday, November 12, 2023, let us honor this beautiful festival that cherishes one of the most precious relationships in our lives.