The five day long Diwali festival ends with a celebration called Bhai-Dooj or Bhau-Beej. This is the second day of the bright fortnight of the month of Kartika.
Bhai-dooj celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters, just like Rakshabandhan. On this day, sisters all over India display their love and family bonding by putting a ‘tika’ or ’tilak ‘on their brothers’ foreheads. This auspicious vermilion mark is a symbol of protection for the brothers. Women in turn are pampered by their brothers through gifts and cash.
There are quite a few stories associated with the history of this festival. One of them which is widely believed is of Yama, the God of death and his twin sister Yami. When after years of separation Lord Yama met his sister Yami, she welcomed him with a Tilak and they celebrated the day with a grand feast. When an elated Yama offered his sister to ask of a wish, she wished that all brothers meet their sisters, at least once every year and all sisters should pray for their brothers’ well-being.
According to another legend, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra after defeating Narakasura, the demon, where she welcomed him and celebrated his victory by putting a Tilak on his forehead.
Myths or not, these stories certainly strengthen the bond between siblings and show yet another beautiful picture of how Indians value their relationships.
This occasion is also celebrated to mark formation of new bonds, renewing old relationships and establishing brotherhood.