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Celebrating siblings

It is now time for Bhai Dooj, a day when sisters pray for the well-being and success of their brothers, writes Namya Sinha.

sex and relationships Updated: Oct 29, 2008 18:42 IST
Namya Sinha

After the sparkling brilliance of Diwali, it is now time for Bhai Dooj — day when sisters pray for the well-being and success of their brothers.

Though Bhai Dooj celebrations differ from region to region; it essentially entails sisters applying a tilak of vermilion (roli), saffron and rice on their brothers’ foreheads as a mark of their love. To celebrate the spirit of the occasion, HT City takes a look at some quirky Bhai Dooj traditions across India.

North India
Sisters apply tikkas on the forheads of their brothers and tie red dhagas on their wrists. The sisters chant a traditional couplet: “Suraj chhadiyan rashma, mooli chhadiyan bee... behn bhra nu tikka laye, vira tu lakh sawrein jee...” that asks for a long life for their brothers. They (the brothers), in turn, give them gifts or money.

In Bihar
Sisters in Bihar start their Bhai Dooj Puja by cursing their brothers with the choicest of abuses. They, then, prick their own tongues with wild thorns as a punishment for their past mistakes and pray for their brothers’ long life. Following this the brothers are given bajri, a dish which comprises grains and gram. This has to be swallowed by the brother without chewing. After this it’s about treating your brother to the biggest and the yummiest mithai.

In Bengal
Called Bhai Pota in Bengal, the festival is marked with a prayer. Sisters put out a bowl the night before to collect dew and the dew is then applied on the brother’s forehead the next morning along with vermillion and a prayer.

Uttar Pradesh
Flax is twisted in a circular shape and dotted with roli. Batashas are placed in the centre. The story of Bhai Dooj is narrated as the sister applies tilak on the brothers’ forehead.