Mumbai: Kirti Karve makes it a point to not do anything on the day of Bhaubheej. She leaves aside all engagements and outings to make sure she spends time with her brother. “I make sure that my brother and I meet on this day with our families,” said Kirti Karve.
Celebrated across India and Nepal, Bhaubheej or Bhaiduj marks the celebration of bonding between brothers and sisters. In Maharashtra, particularly among Marathi households, there is a symbolic water and milk bath given to brothers.
Bhaubeej- akin to Rakshabandhan
The day also marks the culmination of five days of Diwali festivities. To celebrate Bhaubheej, sisters go to their brothers' house or vice versa. They do aarti of their brothers and apply tika (vermilion) on the forehead, after which the male sibling presents a gift. Akin to Rakshabandhan, Bhaubheej's marked difference is that no rakhis are tied on this day.
Mythology behind the festival
Explaining the mythology behind the day, Girgaon resident Amar Sunkersett said, “Legend has it that Lord Yama (God of death) went to meet his sister Yami on this day. She applied a tika and did aarti of him. In return, he gave her a lot of gifts. Even on the Diwali day, we have a Yama Deep so that there is no harm or accidental death.”
Talking about the “symbolic” milk and water bath, he said, “First, the feet or a toe is washed with water, milk and then again with milk. Then the sister does aarti after which tika is applied. When Lord Yama went to his sister's house, he did so after Chandradarshan. So, we always have celebrations after moonsighting.”
While doing aarti, a veeda (betel nut placed on two bete leaves) is also part of the ritual. “Once the aarti is done, I gift my sister in cash or kind. Post that, we make it a point of having dining together.”