The festival of Bhai Dooj is popularly known as Bhai Bij, Bhaubeej or Bhav Bij amongst the Marathi and Konkani speaking communities in the states of Maharashtra,Goa and Karnataka. It is also known as Bhai-phota (or Bhai phonta) among Bengalis. Just as Bhaidooj celebrations in rest of India, Bhaubeej falls on the last day of five-day-long Diwali festival, on the second day of Diwali. This is the second day of the bright fortnight or Shukla Paksha of Hindu month of Kartika. On Bhaubeej, sisters pray for their brothers to have long and happy lives by performing the Teeka ceremony. Brothers give their sisters Bhav-Bij gifts. An important part of Bhai Bij in Maharashtra is a special sweet called Basundi Poori of Shrikhand Poori.

Bhaubeej Ceremony

On the day of Bhaubeej or Bhai Bij sister's invite their brothers for a sumptuous meal often including their favorite dishes. The whole ceremony signifies the duty of a brother to protect his sister as well as a sisters blessings for her brother.

It may be noted that according to a popular Bhai Bij legend in Hindu mythology, after slaying Narkasur, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra who gave him a warm welcome with sweets and flowers. She also affectionately applied tilak on Krishna's forehead. Since then the custom of celebrating Bhaubeej or Bhai Bij started.

Carrying forward the Bhaubeej ceremony in traditional style, sisters' perform arti of their brother and apply a red tika on the brother's forehead. This teeka ceremony, on the occasion of Bhai Bij signifies sister's sincerest prayers for the long and happy life of her brother. In return brothers bless their sisters and treat them with Bhaubeej or cash gifts.

As it is customary in Maharashtra to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Bhaubeej, women who don't have a brother worship Moon God Darpanagayesha instead.

In Nepal, this festival is celebrated as Bhai Tika and second most important festival after Vijaya Dashami.

Bhai Bij Celebration

Festival of Bhai Bij is quite popular in Maharashtra and Goa and is celebrated with lot of fervour and gaiety. Brothers and sisters look forward to the occasion with immense enthusiasm. To add charm to the occasion Bhai Bij Gifts are exchanged between brothers and sisters as a token of love and appreciation.

Bhav Bij is the time for family reunion as all brothers and sisters in the family get together. Close relatives and friends are also invited to celebrate the Bhav Bij in several families. Delectable Basundi Poori and Shrikhand Poori is relished along with several other festival special dishes.

See also

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