By Aalia Khan

The fifth and final day of the Diwali celebrations is called the Bhai-Dooj or Bhau-Beej, and it is dedicated to the brother sister bond.


On this day sisters pray for their brother by applying a red Tilak of Kumkum, and pray for the long life, peace and prosperity of the brother. This Tilak is an auspicious mark put on the forehead of the brothers and an Aratis performed. The holy flame of the Diya is a mark of the sisterly love that will protect the brother from all evil and obstacles in life. In turn the sisters are pampered with lavish goodies from their brothers.

Every sister and brother looks forward to this festival that marks the bond of everlasting love and affection and it is also observed by people who are not related through family tree. Which means; this is also an occasion when new bonds are formed, and commemorated and social ties of peace and brotherhood are established and renewed.

The legend goes that Lord Yama, or the God of Death visits his sister Yami on this day when she puts an auspicious mark on his forehead so that her brother stands protected and she prays for his well-being. The belief hence goes that when a sister puts Tilak on the forehead of her brother on this day, he will never be hurled into hell and be protected from all evil and obstacles.

The other legend on this is that Lord Krishna visits his sister Subhadra after vanquishing the demon Narakasura, where she welcomes him with a victor’s Tilak, flowers and sweets.

Indians are known to glorify customs, rituals and relationships through festivals. Bhai Dooj is similar in essence to Raksha Bandan, where sisters observe the day to pray for the long life and well being of their brothers. Raksha Bandan is all about tying a Rakhi on the arm of the brother as a mark of the infallible bond of love and affection, whereby, the brother is committed to protect the sister from all adversities in life.

Happy Bhai-Dooj from the Asian Sunday team, we hope you have had a great week of Diwali celebrations!