Bhai Dooj Festival: Bhai Dooj Story, History, Date

Date Year Day
29th October 2019 Tuesday
16th November 2020 Monday
6th November 2021 Saturday
26th October 2022 Wednesday

Note: Dates may vary.

The Hindu festivals are celebrated, keeping the family in mind. Families try and be together for such occasions. If a daughter is married, parents send her gifts for all occasions that are celebrated but there are two occasions when daughters carry gifts to their parents’s home-Bhai Dooj and Raksha Bandhan. Both very meaningful festivals for brothers and sisters.

Bhai Dooj falls after Diwali on the second day after the full moon. The sister put a tikka on her brother and the puja thaali contains a coconut, batashas (white sugar sweets), fruit, paans, roli (the red thread tied on the wrist after the pujas) and a little rice for the tikka.

After the tikka, the sister and brothers exchange gifts. This is a festival where the sister prays for a long and healthy life for her brother and the brother in turn, promises to protect his sister from harm.

Again for this festival, there is no special god worshipped. It’s the pure relationship of love between a sister and brother. The sister applies tikka on her brother and ties the sacred thread around his wrist that strengthens the existing bond between them.

She gives him the coconut which is considered sacred and feeds him a little mithai. No further puja requires to be performed. But there is a story about Bhai Dooj and those who know it, relate this while everyone sits around to listen.

Bhai Dooj

Bhai Dooj Story: The Story Behind Bhaidooj Festival

Long, long ago there were a brother and sister who lived with their widowed mother in a village. In the early days, girls were married off at a young age, so this sister, too. Was married off and she went to another village to stay with her husband.

The brother was very young when his sister was married, and after marriage, the distance being too much between the villages, and having to cross a forest in between the sister did not visit her parental home.

The brother had only a vague recollection of what his sister looked like. Every year when it was Bhai Dooj, the boy’s friends had a tikka on their forehead except this little boy whose sister lived so far away.

One day, he asked his mother if he had a sister and why she did not visit them, especially on Bhai Dooj day. All his friends received sweets and gifts from their sisters but he had to be content with whatever his mother gave him.

His mother told him that his sister was married when he was very young, and lived far away. To return to her village for a visit meant that she had to cross a large forest and also have to travel by boat to cross a river which came in between.

The boy was not satisfied with this answer. “If she cannot come and visit me, then I will go to her” he said. The mother agreed that he should be sent to his sister. She told him to be very careful on the way and to ask his sister to return home to choose a bride for him.

The boy left home with a little food for the journey. He was so determined to reach his sister’s village that all thoughts of fear files. Soon he reached the river which had to be crossed. He was glad and level of the water was not high but as he started to cross, the river water started to rise.

The boy pleaded with the river not to drown him as he was going to his sister for Bhai Dooj. He told the river when he returned this way, the river could do what it liked. The river agreed and the water level went down. The boy was able to cross the river.

He went into the forest and there appeared a snake which wanted to bite him. Again he told the snake he was on his way to visit his sister so the snake should let him go and on his way back, could bite him. The snake agreed.

Soon he came upon a mountain from where large stones started falling on him. Once again he repeated to the mountain where he was going and that he should be allowed to carry on. The mountain, also, gave in.

Little further on his journey a tiger appeared who wanted to eat him. He begged the tiger to let him go as he wanted to meet his sister whom he had not seen for many years and also that it was Bhai Dooj. He told the tiger he could eat him on his way back. The tiger agreed to let him proceed to his sister’s village.

At long last, he reached the village where his sister now lived. He made enquiries and finally arrived at his sister’s house. There when he entered the house, he found his sister doing the Bhai Dooj puja. His sister did not look up but continued with her puja.

The brother was disappointed. He thought to himself that after making such a dangerous journey to meet his sister, she did not even look up and smile at him.

Meanwhile, when the sister finished her puja, she rushed forward to embrace her brother. He was surprised. “Do you know who I am?” he asked his sister. “Of course, little brother, even though you were ever so young when I left home after marriage, I would recognize you anywhere, and you have always been in my thoughts”

The sister welcomed her brother warmly and quickly started cooking a sumptuous meal for him. The brother was very pleased and after meeting his brother-in-law, he was glad for his sister as she was so happily married.

The brother spent some days with his sister but soon realized he must return to his mother. The brother also narrated the story of how he was stopped on the way by the river, the mountain, the snake and tiger.

The sister was shocked and did not want any harm to befall her brother. She told him she would accompany him back to the village. Her husband, too, agreed that she must do so. Quickly, the sister packed in her belongings some meat for the tiger, some milk for the snake, flowers for the mountain and some roli and rice for the river.

They set off on their journey and first were met by the tiger. The sister gave the meat to the tiger who took it and walked back to the forest. Next they had to cross the mountain.

The mountain wanted to throw down stones and kill her brother but she quickly started to do puja and offered the mountain some pretty flowers. The mountain was thus pleased and allowed them to pass, unhurt.

Then it was the turn of the snake. The sister gave him milk and after drinking it, the snake went away satisfied. The last was the river they had to cross.

As soon as the river saw the brother and sister, it began to rise, but the sister did puja with the rice and roli and it went down. The brother and sister were so relieved having crossed the river and as they were tired, they sat down under a tree to rest.

There they saw some gypsies and the sister went to get some water to drink from them. There the gypsies hinted that something bad was going to happen to her brother. She asked them to tell her some means so that no danger fell on her brother.

The gypsies said they would tell her if she paid them. The sister took off all her jewellery and gave it to the gypsies. She was told that to save her brother, she must start abusing him and shouting at him until he got married.

The brother would think that the sister all of a sudden had developed some hatred for him but that is what would save his life. When the sister went back to her brother she started shouting and cursing him. The poor boy was so shocked but kept quiet.

The rest of the way home she kept nagging him until they reached home. Once home, the boy told his mother how strangely his sister was behaving and if she did not love him, she should not have insisted on returning with him.

He was, of course, grateful to her for having saved his life, but the shouting and abuses he could not take. The mother pacified him but was also shocked by her daughter’s behavior.

Anyway, the mother went ahead and they chose a bride for the boy and he was soon to get married. The sister’s behavior did not change. The nagging and abuses carried on right through the marriage ceremony.

Once the wedding was over, the mother gave her daughter some gifts and asked her to leave. The sister turned to her brother with tears in her eyes and told him the story of the gypsies. Everyone was so touched by what she had done. The new bride touched her feet and thanked her for saving her husband’s life. The mother was very happy. She hugged her daughter to her.

Since then, it has become the custom that the sister goes to her brother’s house for tikka. May the love between brother and sister always grow and the bond strengthens.

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