Contributed by Mr. C.I. Sivasubramanian

Bhaiyya dhuj (Affection between brothers and sisters)

Since there is a separation of sisters from their parents and brothers after their marriage and may live away from their parents’/brothers’ homes, and may not meet them often, occasions have been created for them to meet and exchange pleasantries. One such occasion is Bhaiyya Dhuj. This day comes immediately after Diwali – the very next day. On this day sisters perform puja for their brothers’ safety and wellbeing. Brothers in return give gifts to their sisters as a token of love.

The Marathi-speaking communities call it ’Bhav—Bij’, the Bengalis as ‘Bhai Phota’ and the Nepalese by the name of ‘Bhai-Tika’.

There is yet another occasion for sisters to show affection to their brothers. It is on Kartika sukla dwitiya day (October-November) and is known as Yamadvitiya. According to an ancient legend, Yama, the god of death and hell, and the river goddess Yamuna, were brother and sister and on this day of Karttika sukla dwitiya, goddess Yamuna is said to have invited her brother Yama to her house and honoured him. Hence this day has become a day of reunion of brothers and sisters.

A similar tradition is followed in the south also. The parents/brothers offer gifts to the married daughters/sisters in the months of Karthigai and Thai (Pongal) (December-January).

On the Sravana Purnima day (August), people especially in northern India, celebrate Raksha bandan. The rakshas or rakhis, prepared out of golden or yellow threads, with amulets, are first worshipped and then tied on the right hand. This tying may be done by priests or by one’s sister or even by sisterly ladies. The brothers are expected to offer the sisters some presents on the occasion. The rakhi is a protective amulet to protect one from evil or evil doers. The Puranas describe how Indira, the king of devas, who has been languishing after a particularly humiliating defeat at the hands of the asuras’ (demons)  was able to regain his sovereignty due to the power of the amulet tied on his hand by his queen, Sacidevi, after some austerities. This is the origin of Rakshabandan festival.

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