Bhai Dooj – November 16, 2020

Mon Nov 16

Bhai Dooj, celebrated on November 16 this year, is a prominent Hindu festival when women pray to the gods for long and prosperous lives for their brothers. It is celebrated two days after the popular festival of Diwali. It is known by various names in different parts of India like Bhau Beej, Bhai Teeka, or Bhai Phota. The festival is very similar to Raksha Bandhan, as it celebrates the love between a brother and sister. While sisters perform traditional rituals and pray for their brothers’ wellbeing, brothers vow to protect sisters. The underlying spirit of piety, love, and care is a unified notion that resonates throughout us all. 

History of Bhai Dooj

Nowhere is the brother-sister bond glorified so ceremoniously as in India. On this day, women invite their brothers home and apply ‘teeka’ or ’tilak’ on their foreheads and offer prayers to the gods and the brothers present their sisters with gifts in return.

Hindu mythology is divided on the origins of Bhai Dooj. According to some, Yamraj, the God of Death, visited his sister on this day. His sister, Yami who is also known as Yamuna, welcomed him with an ‘aarti’ — a light offering — and after applying ‘tilak’ on his forehead, offered him sweets. In return, Yamraj presented his sister with a gift that signified his love and affection towards her.

Moved by his sister’s love, Yamraj declared that any brother who would receive an ‘aarti’ and ‘tilak’ from his sister on this day should never be afraid of death. This story is also the reason behind the festival being called Yama Dwitiya in some parts of the country. Another popular origin story for the festival is that Krishna’s sister Subhadra welcomed him with an ‘aarti’, ‘tilak’, sweets and flowers after he killed the demon king Narakasur. 

Krishna, one of the most widely revered and popular of all Hindu divinities, is worshipped as the eighth incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu and also as a supreme god in his own right. He is also seen to be part of the Bhai Dooj origin stories in Hinduism, according to some. In the Kayastha community, two Bhai Doojs are celebrated. The more famous one comes on the second day after Diwali. But the lesser-known one is celebrated a day or two after Holi. 

On the day of the festival, sisters invite their brothers for a sumptuous meal often including their favorite dishes/sweets. The procedure may be different in Bihar and central India. The whole ceremony signifies the duty of a brother to protect his sister, as well as a sister’s blessings for her brother. The sister whose brother lives far away from her and can not go to her house sends her sincerest prayers for the long and happy life of her brother through the moon god. She performs ‘aarti’ for the moon. This is the reason why children of Hindu parents affectionately call the moon ‘Chandamama’ ‘Chanda’ means moon and ‘mama’ means mother’s brother.

Bhai Dooj timeline

1920
Gandhi becomes a leader

Indian lawyer Mahatma Gandhi launches a two-year campaign of noncooperation, encouraging Indians to leave British institutions, return British honors, and practice self-reliance.

1858
Britain controls India

Parliament ends the rule of the East India Company and places India directly under the control of the British crown, with British officials ruling in the name of the queen and holding top positions.

1600
The Hindu Renaissance begins

Hindu scholars focus on modernist interpretations of the sacred texts and social reform.

500 BC
The Epics and Puranas are written

These signal the beginning of devotional Hinduism, in which followers commit themselves to one deity, particularly Shiva or Vishnu.

Bhai Dooj FAQs

What is the meaning of Bhai Dooj?

Bhai Dooj is a Hindu festival that celebrates the love between a brother and sister. On the occasion of Bhai Dooj, women pray to the gods for long and prosperous lives for their brothers. It is celebrated two days after Diwali.

Why do we celebrate Bhai Dooj?

The celebrations of Bhai Dooj are very similar to Raksha Bandhan, on this day sisters pray for a long and prosperous life for their brothers, and brothers give gifts to their sisters. According to Hindu mythology, Bhai Dooj is celebrated to commemorate Krishna’s sister Subhadra’s loving gesture toward her brother.

How do you wish Bhai Dooj?

Happy Bhaiya Dooj! Wish you the days that bring you happiness infinite and a life that’s prosperous and bright. May this Bhai Dooj strengthen our bond more than ever and bring joy and prosperity. Best wishes for Bhai Dooj.

How To Celebrate Bhai Dooj

  1. Celebrate the brother-sister bond

    Bhai Dooj is all about the spirit of love and care brothers and sisters often share. Even if you’re not Hindu, make sure to show your brother or sister just how much they mean to you. If you are Hindu, it’s a spiritual time of faith and devotion to partake in.

  2. Learn about Bhai Dooj

    The mythical origins of Bhai Dooj are quite beautiful and sentimental, an ancient story of how a bond between a brother and sister can bring so much light into the world. Be sure to read up on a sacred part of the world’s oldest religion — Hinduism — and discuss with your friends or family the meaning behind this touching religious narration.

  3. Give gifts

    On Bhai Dooj, sisters apply tilak or tika on the foreheads of their brothers and pray for their prosperity. Sisters also keep fast and prepare delicious food items for their brother and eat after feeding their brothers. The brothers in return give gifts to their sisters and promise to protect them from every evil force. Consider participating in this beautiful act if you’re Hindu or want to learn more about Hinduism.

5 Amazing Facts About Hindu Traditions

  1. Namaste

    In Hindu culture, people greet each other by joining their palms, the general reason behind this tradition is that greeting by joining both the palms means respect — scientifically speaking, pressing both hands is said to activate the pressure points which helps us remember that person for a long time.

  2. Applying tika to the forehead

    On the forehead, between the two eyebrows, is a spot that has been considered as a major nerve point in the human body since ancient times — the red ‘tika’ between the eyebrows is said to retain energy in the body and control the various levels of concentration.

  3. Mehendi/Henna is medicinal

    Besides lending color to the hands, mehendi is a very powerful medicinal herb that cools the body from stress, which is often why it is used during weddings on the hands and feet because they are the nerve endings in our bodies.

  4. Sitting on the floor to eat

    Sitting in the ‘Sukhasan’ position and then eating is good for digestion because the yoga pose instantly brings a sense of calm and helps aid digestion.

  5. Fasting is good for you

    The underlying principle behind fasting is to be found in Ayurveda. This ancient medical system sees the basic cause of many diseases as the accumulation of toxic materials in the digestive system.

Why We Love Bhai Dooj

  1. It’s a universal love

    The love between brother and sister is universal no matter what religion, culture, or country we are from. This day is all about celebrating that bond in a beautiful and sentimental way, which can resonate with almost every one of us.

  2. We learn more about Hinduism

    Hinduism is an ancient and fascinating religion that dates back to before historians can even put a finger on. Bhai Dooj is an event with a special and sentimental meaning to Hindus around the world, so it’s a great time to learn more about the faith with our Hindu friends. Or even just for our own interest and knowledge!

  3. It comes shortly after Diwali

    The whole time just before, during, and after Diwali is festive and full of color and light. Diwali is the Indian festival of lights, usually lasting five days and celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika. One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual ‘victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.’ This time period is of special significance to Hindu’s and Indians around the globe.

Bhai Dooj dates

YearDateDay
2020November 16Monday
2021November 16Tuesday
2022November 16Wednesday
2023November 16Thursday
2024November 16Saturday

Let’s get social

Here are some special hashtags for the day.

#relation #sibling #sentimental