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Bhaiya Dooj

Come Diwali, and soon it's time to celebrate Bhai Dooj a festival to honor the everlasting and pure love between a brother and sister. It is celebrated two days after Purnima (full moon) and therefore the name Bhaiya Dooj. This festival is very similar to Raksha Bandhan except the rituals. On both the occasion, sisters pray for the long life of their brothers while brothers swear to protect their sisters. The festival has different names in different regions of the country. It is called Bhaiya Dooj in the Hindi-speaking belt, Bhai Phota in Bengal, Bhav Bij in Marathi, Yama Dwiteya in Orissa and Bhai Tika in Nepal.
During Bhaiya Dooj the traditional pujas are carried out in the same platform where Diwali pujas were held. On this day, the entire family takes an early bath and dress up finely. Any Hindu occasion is incomplete without sweets. The sister decorates a plate full of sweets, batashas (small sugar cakes), roli and rice. The plate also contains the auspicious coconut. After the puja finishes, the sister proceeds to put the tika (vermilion mark) on her brother's forehead. This tika is like the Rakhi thread an emblem of truth and protection. Applying the tika on the forehead is also supposed to be very auspicious as the forehead is where hamsa chakra and agya chakra lies. The tika protects these two essential chakras of the human body. Finally, the sister gives the auspicious coconut to the brother along with some other eatables.

The bond between brother and sister is eternal, celestial and extremely chaste. The Bhaiya Dooj festival is a reflection of this heartfelt and dynamic lifelong relationship between the siblings.

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