Bhai Dooj or Bhaiya Dooj is a Hindu festival that is celebrated by all women by praying for the long life of their brothers and in return receive gifts. The festival is celebrated on the very last day of the 5 days long Diwali festival which is the second day of the bright fortnight or Shukla Paksha in the Hindu month of Kartik.
Legend has it that as per the Hindu mythology, after defeating the evil demon Narakasura, Lord Krishna paid a visit to his sister Subhadra who gave him a warm welcome with sweets and flowers. She applied tilaka on Krishna's forehead with affection. It is believed by some that this is the origin of the festival. However, Legend has it that on this particular day, Yama, the God of Death visited his sister, Yami. She put tilak on her brother Yama's forehead, garlanded him and fed him special dishes that she cooked herself. Since they were meeting each other after a long time, they dined together and talked to each other to their heart's content. They also exchanged gifts to each other and Yami had made the gift with her own hands. Yama then announced that whoever receives tilak from his sister on this particular day will enjoy long life and prosperity. Based on this, Bhai Dooj is also known as Yama Dwitiya.
Bhai Dooj is celebrated by the invitations of the brothers by the sisters for specially made scrumptious meals that include their most relished dishes. The ceremony is about the brother's responsibility to protect his sister along with the blessings of the sister. It is a very traditionally celebrated ceremony where the sisters ensure to perform aarti of their brothers and apply red tika on their forehead. The tika ceremony on the occasion of Bhai Dooj signifies the prayers of a sister for the long life and prosperous accumulation of her brother. In return, the brother gives gifts which may also be in form of monetary terms. In certain parts of India, women who do not have a brother worship, Lord Moon, instead. As a tradition, they apply Mehendi (henna) on their hands as a tradition. At different places, Bhai Dooj festival is celebrated in different ways. In Haryana, Bhai Phota is celebrated with high energy and fervour. There are numerous rituals conducted during the ceremony that also includes that grand feast for the brothers. On this particular day, the brothers visit their sister's home and the ceremony begins with an Aarti. A tradition is followed on Bhai Dooj where the coconuts are also worshipped and presented to the brother by the sister. The sister then goes on to apply tilak on her brother's forehead and feed him handmade tasty savouries. She also gives her brother blessings for a long and content life. As mentioned earlier, this is followed by the exchange of gifts between the brothers and sisters. This festival is quite similar to the festival of Raksha Bandhan. The festival of Bhai Dooj also gives a chance to family members and relatives to meet each other and spend some great time together till their heart is content.