Yama Dwithiya or Bhai Dooj
The second day of Shukla Paksh, the bright forthnight of Kartik is called Bhaiyaduj. There are various names of this Hindu festival. Known by the name of bhai-dooj Bhai Tika Bhathru Dwithiya Bhatri Ditya yamadwitheya
The festival of Bhai Dooj has a mythological background.
Yamuna the river Goddess
Story of Brother Yama & Sister Yamuna
Yamuna is next only to the Ganga in her sacredness, for the Hindus. According to legend, Yamuna was a great favourite daughter of her father Surya, the Sun god. Her mother Sanjna or Samjana or Sandhya could not bear to look at her bright and dazzling husband. As she looked upon him with “samyama” (meaning restraint in Sanskrit) their son was called Yama. In spite of Surya asking her to keep her eyes open in his presence, they sometimes flickered, and so the daughter was called Yamuna.
In various old temples of Northern India, Yamuna is shown on her tortoise, a symbol associated with creation in the Vedas. Even today tortoises can be found on the banks of the Yamuna. Raksha Bandhan.
After the children were born, Samjna left her sister Chaaya (shadow) in her place pretending to be her, and returned to her parents’ home as she could not bear the Sun’s intense brightness. Once Chaaya bore children, she was not very compassionate towards Samjna’s children. One day, Yama, unable to tolerate Chaya’s cruelty any longer, stamped her foot hard. Enraged by this, Chaya cursed that him to lose his foot. Yamuna his beloved sister could not bear this injustice. She came to Earth and prayed for the curse to be revoked.
Yama Raja, the Hindu God of Death, visited his twin-sister Yami on the Ditya Day after a long period of separation. Yami gave a warm welcome to his brother. This she did by applying tilak on Yama’s forehead. She performed arti on him and treated him with a very delicious meal. Yama was highly pleased with the welcome meted out to him. He proclaimed that brothers who share a meal with their sisters on the auspicious ‘Dooj’ day will never face trouble in their lives. The tradition continues even today. Bhatri Ditya is religiously carried out by brothers and sisters in India. Brothers take bath in the Yamuna river and visit their sisters place for the Bhatri Ditya ceremony.
In memory of this profound love between brother and sister, bhai dooj is celebrated in various parts of the country. Sisters pray for their brothers to have a long life and brothers vow to look after and protect their sisters. This is when the “rakhi” is also tied.
According to popular legend in Hindu mythology, after slaying the evil demon Narkasur, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra who gave him a warm welcome with sweets and flowers. She also affectionately adorned a tilak on Krishna’s forehead with due respect and love. Some believe this to be the origin of the festival. The auspicious celebrations of Bhai dooj reflects the rich cultural traditions of different region of India. Besides, this as this festival brings the whole family together bringing in prosperity, well being and luck, this festival is considered highly significant.
All the rituals and pooja held on Bhai Dooj is carried out in a festive pooja room or platform that is basically decorated for Diwali pooja. Sisters adorn their pooja thali with sumptuous sweets, mouth-watering ‘batashas’, roli and rice along with the coconut. Igniting the pooja lamp they perform all the rituals that involves applying a tikka made of sandalwood paste accompanied with lawn turf (dubbo) and holi chawal. After applying tikka, the sister pampers her brother with delectable eatables along with the sweets, coconut etc. In return, the brother gratifies his dear sisters with a wide variety of gifts
There are various distinct ways in which this beautiful festival is solemnized. But the features that are common in all rituals is the act of smearing a tilak of roli (vermilion), kesar (saffron) and rice on the brother’s forehead by their sister as a mark of their love and protection.
Bhai Dooj festival is also known by the name of Yamadwitheya. We all know that this festival celebrates the beauty of the eternal bond of love and affection between a brother and a sister. The festival is the last day of the diwali celebrations. This falls on the second day after Diwali and the next day after new moon night. Dhanatrayodashi, Narakchaturdashi, Amavasya (Laxmi Pujan), Balipratipada and Yamadvitiya also called Bhai Dooj are the five days which comprise Diwali. Each day is associated with a religious significance.
One of the most commonly told legend of Bhai Dooj is the tale of Yamaraj, the Hindu mythological god of Death. The reason why the festival is also know as Yamadwitheya is from the legend of god Yama Raja himself. Story says that Yamaraj met his twin-sister Yami or Yamuna after a long period of separation. The day was ‘Dwitheya’ or ‘Dooj Day’ (second day after new moon). When Yami saw her brother after a long period of time, she was very happy and she welcomed Dharam Raj (another name for Yama) wholeheartedly. She applied red tilak on his brother’s forehead and treated him a sumptuous meal. Yamaraj was very happy receiving such a warm reception from his sister. It was due to this he announced that whosoever receives a teeka from his sister on the day of ‘Dooj’ will not be hurled to hell. Hence the day is also referred as Yamadwitheya.
Just as Yamaraj and his sister Yami met on that auspicious day, even today brothers, visit their sister on the ‘Dwithiya Day’ and have a meal with her. The custom is called ‘Bhagini Hastha Bhojanam’, which means ‘Having meal by the hands of the sister’. It is a ritual to worship Lord Yama and his record keeper, Chithragupta on this day. Many people consider it important to take a bath in the river Yamuna on this festival. Early in the morning, after taking bath and offering prayer to God, sisters perform arti of their brothers. They apply red teeka made of sindoor, chandan and kesar and give them a sweet to eat. While performing these rituals sisters also pray for their brothers long, healthy and prosperous life. Brothers in turn bless their sisters and as a token of love present them with gifts or some cash.
Yamadwitheya of Bhai Dooj is quite a popular festival amongst Hindus in India. With full gusto, the festival is celebrated. Brothers and sisters have a get together on Yamadwitheya and strengthen their relationship, sharing childhood memories of togetherness. Gifts are exchanged as a token of love. In a complete harmonious environment, the best of festive food is relished.
Another name of this famous Hindu festival of Bhai Dooj Bhaiyya Dooj is Bhatri Ditya. To strengthen the beautiful bond shared between a brother and a sister, the festival Bhatri Ditya is celebrated. This is considered a part of Diwali celebrations. It is the the last day of overall Diwali celebrations in the Hindu month of Kartik, which is usually the month of October or November. ‘Ditya’ in the term ‘Bhatri Ditya’ implies that the festival falls on the second day after new moon. ‘Bhatri’ means brother. Sisters pray for their brothers’ long and happy life on this day and there is a spirit of harmony and bonhomie in the entire family because it is a kind of family get together on the auspicious occasion.
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