Another name of the famous Hindu Festival of Bhaiya Dooj is Bhatri Ditya. To strengthen the beautiful bond shared between a brother and a sister, the festival Bhatri Ditya is celebrated. This is considered a part of Diwali celebrations. It is the the last day of overall Diwali celebrations in the Hindu month of Kartik, which is usually the month of October or November. 'Ditya' in the term 'Bhatri Ditya' implies that the festival falls on the second day after new moon. 'Bhatri' means brother. Sisters pray for their brothers' long and happy life on this day and there is a spirit of harmony and bonhomie in the entire family because it is a kind of family get together on the auspicious occasion.
The basic significance of this day is that it gives a chance for brothers to visit their sisters and share a meal with them. With lot of warmth and affection, sisters welcome their brothers. Arti is performed and sisters apply a red tika on their brothers' forehead. The teeka is made of roli (vermilion), kesar (saffron) and sandal (chandan). Rice is also applied over the tika. This tika is a mark of their love and protection. A sweet is also offered as a part of the tradition.
These Bhatri Ditya ceremony symbolises sisters sincerest prayers to the Almighty for brother's long and prosperous life. Brothers too bless their sisters. This is a occasion when lavish gifts and goodies are showered by brothers to their sisters and vice versa. This celebration also brings forward a promise to maintain a bonding all throughout their lives.
The festival is associated with various legends. Like all festivals, this Bhatri Ditya has also its origin to various stories. One story goes that Yama Raja, the Hindu God of Death, visited his twin-sister Yami on the Ditya Day after a long period of separation. Yami gave a warm welcome to his brother. This she did by applying tilak on Yama's forehead. She performed arti on him and treated him with a very delicious meal. Yama was highly pleased with the welcome meted out to him. He proclaimed that brothers who share a meal with their sisters on the auspicious 'Dooj' day will never face trouble in their lives. The tradition continues even today. Bhatri Ditya is religiously carried out by brothers and sisters in India. Brothers take bath in the Yamuna river and visit their sisters place for the Bhatri Ditya ceremony.
On this day, some also consider worshipping Lord Yama. This ritual is followed by the Kayastha community in Uttar Pradesh. They also pray to Chitraguptha, the mythical accountant of Yama Raja, who keeps a record of births and deaths. Some sisters also worship berry trees on the occasion.
Bhatri Ditya is an eagerly awaited festival by every brother and sister in India. With lots of enthusiasm brothers and sisters wait for the arrival of this beautiful festival of Bhatri Ditya.
The festival is considered as a time for family reunion. Relatives and friends are also invited in several families to share enjoyment and the best of food. Exchange of gifts and sweets as a token of love is also seen on this day. It further heightens the spirit of the festival and strengthens the brother – sister bond.