Bhai Phota : Bengali way of celebrating Bhai Dooj
Bhai Dooj Essay
Since ages, Bhai Phota is celebrated in every Bengali household as an
propitious day, showcasing the the love and affection between the
brother and sister. Though this love and affection is same as that
shared between the brothers and sisters of other community, still the
custom and rituals of Bengal are a bit different. The environment of the
house becomes more alive and cheerful by the constant visit of friends
and relatives, all invited for lunch and dinner.
The ritual that is similar to other communities is putting the tilak by
sisters on their brothers forehead and performing the arti in order to
save him from all kind of evils. In Bengal, a combination of sandal wood
paste (chandan), red chandan, home made kajal, is used to apply the
tilak while in other regions a red coloured powder called 'Roli' is made
into a paste and is used to draw the tilak along with few grains of
The sisters make their brothers sit on an 'Asana' and draws the
tilak on the forehead of the brother. If the sister is elder then she
blesses her brother with rice grains and dubya, a special type of grass,
when the brother touches her feet.
It is customary in Bengal on the part of the sister if she is elder, to
draw the Tilak with the little finger of the left hand and with that of
the right hand if she is younger from her brother. At this gifts are
exchanged which marks the immense love and affection between the brother
and sister. After this the brothers are served sweets and then the whole
family engages into singing songs, play games and anything that is
enjoyed by all.
Mr. Saurabh Sen Guplta, Dhanbad
Remembering Bhai Dooj
As a young girl, I never knew the actual meaning of Bhai Dooj. I
celebrated the day because my Mom said, "It is a special day for
brother and sister." On this day, it was very important for my
brothers and my cousins to receive this gift from me. In my heart I
never really knew what it meant, so it was not as important to me, but I
did it for tradition.
After I got married, I let the tradition go. After marriage, last year
was the first time I felt like doing it. So, I did. The response from my
brothers was amazing! It seemed like a fire was rekindled. We started
talking more often and a relationship started to build again. Over the
years, with marriage, work, children, I drifted away in actual contact,
but never in heart. It felt so good to have my brothers call me and say
"thank you" and "I love you". To hear those words
after so long was the most wonderful feeling in the world.
One day I was thinking about how it was when we were young. How mean I
was as the older sister, bossy, mean and fighting with them. I never
thought in a million years I would ever miss them or wish we were kids
again, just for one day. I realized how I took for granted the special
times of our youth. I realized what a special bond we have with each
other. I realized they will always be there for me, no matter what. In
that, I have found great comfort and the regrets of days past linger no
more. But are filled with cords of a love song that only my brothers can
sing. I thank God for blessing me with them. I am proud of all they have
accomplished. It brings a smile to my heart when I see the two little
boys who grew up to be very amazing men.
This bond of sacred love between a brother and a sister, means more to
me than a tradition. To me, Bhai Dooj is a symbol of the love, respect
and honor I have for them.
Dr. Deepa Pathak , Kanpur
The importance of celebrating Bahi Dooj
The festival marked by the sister applying the tikka on the brother’s
forehead, Bhai Dooj Puja is usually performed in the mother’s
house. So, for married sisters, it is very essential to visit their
native place in order to perform this puja. This is one of the many
festivals in India which re-emphasize on the importance of human
Bhai Dooj is celebrated two days after Diwali. According to the
legends, many years ago, onh this pious day, Yamraj, the Lord of death
visited His sister Yamuna, also called Yami. In order to welcome her
brother, she had put the auspicious tilak on his forehead, and then they
ate, talked and enjoyed together and exchanged special gifts as a token
of their love for each other.
Since then it became inevitable for the brother to go to his sister's
house to celebrate Bhaiya Dooj. It is a day dedicated to sisters. The
sister usually goes in the morning and does the Puja in the mother's
house, before the brothers leave for their places of study or work.
Dr. Geeta Mishra , Jaipur