Bhai Tika is the fifth and the final day of the popular Festival of Light called 'Tihar' or 'Panchak Yama' in Nepal. As Bhai Tika is a part of Tihar celebrations it is also known as 'Bhai Tihar'. Bhai Tika is an extremely important festival for brothers and sisters all over Nepal and they celebrate the occasion with lot of enthusiasm and gaiety. On this day, sisters apply tilak on the forehead of their brothers and pray to Lord Yama, the God of death, for their brother's long and prosperous life. Exchange of gifts besides lot of merriment marks the beautiful festival of Bhai Teeka.
Festival of Bhai Tika holds a lot of importance for the people of Nepal and they celebrate the festival following all the set rituals and tradition. There is a popular legend behind the origination of Bhai Tika in Nepal. It says that long ago a sister saved the life of his brother from the clutches of Yamaraj (the God of death) by performing Bhai Tika. Since that time sisters have been applying tikka on their brothers forehead, in a belief that this will protect their brothers from death and they will enjoy a long life. Sisters also pray for their brothers health and prosperity on this day.
In several societies sisters invite brothers to their house on the occasion of Bhai Tika. To begin the ceremony, sister draws three mandaps or boundaries at a designated place. The mandaps are one each for Lord Ganesh, Janmaraj (the God of birth) and Yamaraj. The sister then perform Puja of the deities. After this, brother is given a seating on a mat for the tika ceremony. Sisters apply a special Paanch Rangi Tika' consisting of five colours (red, green, blue, yellow and white) on the forehead of their brother. Following the custom, sister worships for her brothers long life and draws a boundary (mandap) around her brothers with oil using doob grass. This interesting tradition is symbolic of the belief that no one including Yama can cross this line of protection guarded by a loving sister. Brothers also bless their sisters with a happy life.
People of Nepal celebrate Bhai Tikka with lot of fun and frolic. Auspicious time for holding Bhai Tikka ceremonies in Nepal is declared by royal astrologer through public broadcasting system on the eve of the festival. On the day of Bhai Teeka, just as the King of Nepal receives tika from his sisters, a thirty-one-gun salute is given by the royal soldiers. Exactly at this time the entire Nepal would be celebrating Bhai Tika ceremony.
After completing the ceremony sisters treat their brothers with sumptuous meals and lot of gifts, including a 'shagun' of fruits and sweets. Brother in their turn delight their sisters with gifts and cash. There is lot of merriment on the occasion as it is time for family reunion. Relatives are also invited to celebrate the national holiday. People sing and dance and mood of the people is generally upbeat.
People who do not have a brother of a sister, visit Yamaleswor temple situated in the middle of Rani Pokhari on the occasion of Bhai Tikka to pay homage to Lord Shiva. Rani Pokhari is a historical pond built by Pratap Malla. It is situated in between Ratna Park and Jamal.