The second day of Shukla Paksh, the bright forthnight of Kartik
is called Bhaiyaduj. There are various names of this festival. Known by
the name of bhai-dooj in the Hindi-speaking belt, it is called "Bhav-Bij"
in the Marathi-speaking communities and in Nepal, people know this
festival by the name of "Bhai-Tika".
There are various distinct ways in which this beautiful festival is
solemnized. But the features that are common in all rituals is the act
of smearing a tilak of roli (vermilion), kesar (saffron) and rice on the
brother's forehead by their sister as a mark of their love and
In Uttar Pradesh, the brother is gifted with an
`aabf- a length of flax, knotted into a circular shape and dotted with
sugar batashas. There are two aabs for each brother. After performing
all the rituals that include the sister applying a tilak of roli and
rice on her brother's forehead and praying him with an aarti to shed off
all the evil effects, the story of Bhai Dooj is narrated.
In Punjab, the day following Diwali is known as tikka
when sisters make a paste with saffron and rice and place an auspicious
mark on their brother's foreheads as a symbolic gesture to ward off all
In Bengal this event is called 'Bhai Phota', which is
performed by the sister who religiously fasts until she applies a
'phota' or mark with sandal wood paste on her brother's forehead, offers
him sweets and gifts and prays for his long and healthy life. Diyas and
incense sticks are an integral part of the ceremony. An aarti is also
In Bihar, sisters repeat the behavior of the central
character of the story of Bhai Dooj, where a sister saves her brother
life by cursing him until he gets married. The curse is seen as a mean
to ward off all the dangers and evil effects of the spirits surrounding
the brother. The sisters of Bihar start this day by showering choicest
of curses on their brothers. After doing so, they prick their own
tongues as punishment, with a thorny, wild fruit and ask for their
brothers' forgiveness for the curses, and also for past mistakes. There
is also a unique custom of brother eating grains of bajri with water,
from their sisters' hands.