How to celebrate Bhai Dooj
The festival of Bhai Dooj is known to be based on mythological concept. The celebrations of Bhai dooj reflects the importance of unique cultural traditions that vary with different region of India. This helps to keep the family close and brings prosperity, well being and luck. Bhai Dooj falls on the two day after Diwali and is celebrated all over the country.
All the rituals and pooja held on Bhai Dooj is carried out in the general puja room or on the same platform that was decorated for Diwali pooja. Sisters decorate their puja thali with mithai, batashas, roli and rice along with the coconut. They light up the puja lamp and perform all the rituals. Once the pooja is performed by every members of the family, the sister applies tika on the forehead of the brother. After applying tikka, she gives him a few of the eatables along with the coconut.
Those married women who stay close to their parent's place visit their brother early in the morning and greet them. Those staying far off either take out few days to visit her brother or express their love and blessings through posting greeting cards or e-cards and sending their good wishes. After all the rituals of Bhai Dooj is performed, brothers pamper their sisters by presenting the most memorable gifts. Most commonly, the girl of the house is given presents of clothes, utensils, and lots of mithai and fruits at festivals
The Legends of BhaiDooj
In India, the legends are considered as the backbone of festival. They are also a great medium for parents to inculcate interest in the younger generation and to impart values of Indian festivals to them. There are many unique and interesting legends associated with Bhai Dooj festival. The various Bhai Dooj legends lays stree on the significance of the sacred relationship shared between a brother and a sister, making it an extremely vital festival. All these myths and legends mentioned below also effects the ritual and customs that are observed on this day.
The famous legends associated with Bhai Dooj are as follows :
The Legend Of Lord Vishnu
According to this legend, when Lord Vamadev was pleased with Bali maharaj and appeared in Vishnu-rupa, Bali asked a boon that Lord Vishnu would be on every door at Patalaloka. Vishnu agrees and goes to become a Dwarpalaka of Bali. When Goddess Lakshmi heard this news by Narad, she was in great distressed. Laxmi plays trick on Bali in order to make her husband return back to his original place.
She went to Bali as a poor woman seeking help. She says that she doesn't have a brother and would dearly like one. Then Bali accepted her as his sister and told her to ask anything that she need. Then Laxmi replied that you have my everything in your service - please release Lord Vishnu. Thus, Lord Vishnu was released from the service of Bali.
The Legend Of Yamaraj and Yamuna
According to Veda, Yamraj-God of dead is the son of Vivasvat. He had twin sisters named Yami or Yamuna. Yami, Yama’s twin sister, was transformed into the sacred river Yamuna in whose purifying waters people bathe on holy days. Yama was given an equally important role and made the god of Death, whom all fear. On Bhai Dooj day, Yami or Yamaraja was called to his sister’s home Yamuna, where she offered Aarti and a small gift for her brother.
Yama then told her that on this day brothers would be invited to their sisters’ home and in return the brother would bring a gift for his sister. Until today this tradition is maintained with great love. As Yama's sister is Yamuna and she fed Yama to his satisfaction he said that from now on any brother who visits the sister on Bhai Dhuj day will escape the hand of Yamaraj - the sister prays for her brother.
The Legend Of Lord Mahavir
Another legend behind the origin of Bhai Dooj says that when Mahavir, the founder of Jainism, attained nirvana, his brother King Nandivardhan was distressed because he missed him and was comforted by his sister Sudarshana. Since then, sisters have been revered during Bhai Dooj.
The Legend Of Lord Krishna
According to the legend, on the auspicious day of Bhai Dooj Lord Krishna, after slaying the Narakasura demon, goes to his sister Subhadra where she welcomes her brother with the lamp, sweets, flowers, etc and put the holy protective tilak on his forehead. Keeping this legend in mind, people celebrate the festival of Bhai Dooj with great enthusiasm and fervor.
The Story Of Bhai Dooj
For Hindus, the story behind each festival play a very important role in the formation of their culture and have a very deep significance and values. Most of the Indian festivals are attached to specific characters and personalities that helps the masses to understand and know the true significance of the festival. Just like all important Indian Festivals, Bahi dooj also has a story to follow that have carved a niche with its unique presence and strength.
Through generations, the story of Bhai Dooj has been passed from generation to generation either by word of mouth or through carefully stored scriptures. The narration of the story marks the end of the Bhai dooj puja. Once the various rituals of Bhai dooj such as the sister applying the teeka on the forehead of the brother, giving him the eatables and in return receiving the gifts are over, the women and children sit around, to hear the story behind Bhai Dooj from the elders of the family.
The story goes that once there was a family living in a village that had only a sister and a brother. The sister was very elder to her brother, thus when she got married, the brother was at a very tender age. The boy did not remembered any thing about his sister's marriage. After the marriage, the sister never returned to her mother's home. As the brother grew up, the image of her sister started fading with each passing years. He terribly missed his sister, especially on the Bhai Dooj day, as he used to see his friends with teeka on their forehead and plates full of sweets.
On one particular Bhai dooj, when the boy had turned up into a handsome young boy, he inquired his mother about the reason as to why his sister never visited her original home after her marriage. The mother replied that she does not come because there is a big forest between this village and the one in which she lives and there is a big river flowing in between. One has to cross the river by boat and then there are wild animals which fill people with so much terror, that many people do not travel through the forest.
Inspite of knowing the immense difficulty he will have to face, the young brother decided to visit his sister on the next Bhai dooj day. The mother reminded him again of the dangers, but he did not listen, and so it was decided that he would go and visit her. When the time came she told him to tell his sister that she should now come over and choose a suitable bride for him.