The five-day Diwali celebration concludes with Bhai Dooj, a festival similar to Raksha Bandhan, that celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. It falls in the Hindu lunar month of Kartik. As it falls on the second day after the new moon day it is known as ‘dooj’ or ‘dwitya’, hence the name ‘Bhai Dooj’. The festival is celebrated in different parts of India and Nepal and is called by different names. It is called Bhau Beej in Goa, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, Ningol Chakuba in Manipur and Bhai Phota in Bengal. It is the day when sisters pray for brother’s long life and well-being while brothers vow to protect sisters. In 2017, Bhai Dooj falls on October 21.
According to Hindu mythology, the God of death Yama visited his sister Yamuna (Yami) on Dwitheya, the second day of the new moon. She welcomed him by putting a tilak, performing aarti and offering him delectable dishes. In return, declared that on this day a brother who received aarti and tilak by his sister would never come across sudden death. Hence, the day is also called as Yama Dwitiya.
According to another popular legend, Lord Krishna after killing demon Narakasura visited his sister Subhadra. She welcomed him by applying a tilak on his forehead and performing aarti. She even made special arrangements of flowers and sweets. Hence, the festival of Bhai Dooj is celebrated.
The ceremony begins with sisters putting a tilak on the forehead of their brothers and perform an aarti as a mark of love and protection from evil forces. Sisters pray for brothers healthy life and well-being. In return, brothers vow to protect sisters and they exchange gifts. It is believed that brothers who receive red tilak from sisters would never be hurled into hell.
Bhai Dooj Tika tithi: 1:31 pm to 3:49 pm
Dwitiya tithi begins: 1:37 pm on October 21, 2017
Dwitiya tithi ends: 3 pm on October 22, 2017