Significance of Scriptural Names of Bhai Dooj in different regions
Bhai Dooj takes place two days after Diwali and it is considered to be the end of the festive season that started with Navratri and Durga Puja. More specifically, the Bhai Dooj celebration brings to conclusion the five day long festivities of Diwali. The festival of Bhai Dooj is similar to Raksha Bandhan as this is also a celebration of the sacred bond that exists between a brother and a sister. Among the many rituals of this occasion, sending gifts to India for siblings is also a very common tradition. Bhai Dooj is known by different names in different parts of India and the reason for this is hidden in the many customs and historical references.
Bhai Dooj in Uttar Pradesh
In the state of Uttar Pradesh, the festival is known by its popular name, Bhai Dooj, that is actually a reference to the date. Bhai Dooj is celebrated on the dwitiya or dooj of the shukla paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik. Sisters give a gift of aab or flax to their brothers that is decorated with batashas made out of sugar. After that, the sister applies a tika of roli and chawal on the brother’s forehead and performs an arti.
Tikka in Punjab
Punjab celebrates this auspicious day as Tikka that refers to the main tradition of this annual festival. The main ritual is the sister applying a tika or tikka on her brother’s forehead and the name is derived from this. Thus, a special tika is made out of kesar and chawal that are thoroughly made into a paste. However, this day is celebrated on the day after Diwali and not after two days like the rest of India.
Bhai Phota in Bengal
The Bengalees observe this day as Bhai Phota where the meaning of ‘phota’ is actually a ‘mark’. This is a reference to the tika that is placed on the forehead of the brother by the sister after fasting. The phota is made as a mixture of sandalwood paste, curd and sometimes even kohl is used. A ritualistic exchange of sweets as well gifts takes place after the sister applies the phota while reciting the traditional verses.
Bhatri Ditya in Bihar
Bhatri Ditya is the name for this festival in the state of Bihar that is a transformed form of the term Bhratri Dwitiya that refers to the date of this occasion, that is, the dwitiya of the Kartik shukla paksha. The festivities in this state includes an interesting ritual of the sisters cursing the brothers to a large extent. The sisters then prick their tongues with a prickly fruit and also ask for the forgiveness of their brothers. The brothers also partake water along with bajra grains from the hands of their sisters before the customary tika and gifts.
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