Delightful Bhai Dooj festival is popularly known as Bhai Bij, Bhaubeej or Bhav Bij amongst the Marathi speaking community in the states of Maharashtra and Goa. Just as Bhaidooj celebrations in rest of India, Bhai Bij or Bhaubeej falls on the last day of five-day-long Diwali festival, on the second day of Diwali. This is the second day of bright fortnight (Shukla Paksha) of Hindu month of Kartik. On Bhaubeej sisters pray for their brothers long and happy life as they perform teeka ceremony. Brothers also bless their sisters and pamper them with Bhav-Bij gifts. Highpoint of Bhai Bij celebration in Maharashtra is a special sweet called Basundi Poori of Shrikhand Poori.
On the day of Bhaubeej or Bhai Bij sisters' invite their brothers for a sumptuous meal and offer brothers' their favorite dishes. Following the tradition, sisters' in Maharashtra and Goa, prepare a special square shaped space on the floor. The square is further embellished with beautiful designs using corn powder. Interestingly, before the brother is made to step into this square place of worship, he is made to eat a bitter fruit - Karith in Marathi. This peculiar custom has its root in a mythological legend, according to which Lord Krishna is said to have tasted this fruit before he set out to kill demon Narkasura. Here, brother stands for Lord Krishna who performed the noble deed of killing the demon.
It may be noted that according to a popular Bhai Beej legend in Hindu mythology, after slaying Narkasur, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra who gave him a warm welcome with sweets and flowers. She also affectionately applied tilak on Krishna's forehead. Since then the custom of celebrating Bhaubeej or Bhai Bij started.
Carrying forward the Bhaubeej ceremony in traditional style, sisters' perform arti of their brother and apply a red tika on the brother's forehead. This teeka ceremony, on the occasion of Bhai Bij signifies sister's sincerest prayers for the long and happy life of her brother. In return brother bless their sisters and treat them with Bhaubeej gifts or some cash.
As it is customary in Maharashtra to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Bhaubeej, women who don't have a brother worship Moon God as celebrate they must.
Festival of Bhai Bij is quite popular in Maharashtra and Goa and is celebrated with lot of fervour and gaiety. Brothers and sisters look forward to the occasion with immense enthusiasm. To add charm to the occasion Bhai Beej Gifts are exchanged between brothers and sisters as a token of love and appreciation.
Bhav Bij is the time for family reunion as all brothers and sisters in the family get together. Close relatives and friends are also invited to celebrate the Bhav Bij in several families. Delectable Basundi Poori and Shrikhand Poori is relished along with several other festival special dishes.