Bhai Dooj is celebrated on the fifth day of the Diwali Festival. Celebrated with lot of joy and enthusiasm, this is one of the very important Indian festival to mark the celebration of the never-ending bonding and love between a brother and sister. This festival is celebrated is known by various names.
In West Bengal, this festival is popularly known as Bhai Phota or Bhai Fota. The ritual starts in the morning. The sister keeps fast all morning till the ritual is completed. As a part of the ritual, tilak is applied on the forehead of the brother . This is call Bhai Fota. The tilak is made of ghee, sandalwood (chandan) paste and kaajal. The elder of the brother and sister gives the younger ones rice and durba, a type of grass. Kheer and coconut laddoos are a must-eat in Bhai Phota.
In Nepal also, bhai dooj is celebrated. It is known as Bhai Tika or Bhai Teeka. It is also known as Bhai Tihar, as Tihar is the name for Diwali in Nepal. In Nepal, on this day , tilak or tika is made using five colors red, green, blue, yellow and white and applied on brother's forehead. This tika is also known as "Paanch Rangi Tika". As a part of the ritual, sister draws mandaps in the name of the God using Doob grass and the Tika ceremony is carried out. This custom of drawing mandaps symbolizes that no one, not even Lord Yama can cross the boundary guarded by a loving sister.
Bhai Dooj is popularly known as Bhathru Dwithiya or Bhatri Ditya in various places. Here 'Bhathru' or 'Bhatri' means brother. "Dwithiya" or "Ditya" implies that the festival is celebrated on the second day after the new moon. To carry out the ceremony, brothers' visit their sisters' on this day. A popular ritual carried out on this day is "Bhagini Hastha Bhojanam". This custom means that brothers' must partake food prepared by their sister.
Yamadwitheya is another name of Bhai Dooj festival in some parts of Northern India. The name is associated with the popular legend of Lord Yamaraj. It is said that when sister Yami applied tika on Lord Yamaraj, he was very pleased by this affectionate gesture of his wife. He proclaimed that brothers who receive tilak from their sister on this auspicious day will be blessed with a long life.
Bhai Dooj Festival is popularly known as Bhav Bij or Bhaubeej in Maharashtra and Goa. A special square shaped space on the floor is drawn by the sister and the brother is made to sit on this square. Before sitting the brother is made to eat a bitter fruit called Karith. The custom is associated with the story that Lord Krishna tasted this fruit before he went on his mission to kill demon Narakasura. The highlight of this celebration is the delicious Basundi Poori or Shrikhand Poori.
Another name for bhai dooj is Bhai Beej or Bhai Bij. This term is used in Gujarat. Like in ther parts of India, in GujratGujrat also, the bhai dooj is celebrated by applying a sacred tika on brother's forehead. The sister performs aarti of him and pray for his long life. Brothers' in turn bless their sisters. Bhai Beej gifts are exchanged.
In Bihar, bhai dooj is celebrated in am altogether different manner. Sisters begin the celebrations by heaping choicest of curses on their brothers. After doing this they prick their own tongues as punishment. For this they use a thorny, wild fruit. Then they ask for forgiveness from the brothers for the curses, and also for past mistakes. Brothers' then bless their sisters. The brothers swallow a few grains of bajri with water, before tasting yummy sweets from their sisters' hands.