The Tradition of Bhai Dooj
Human beings share a myriad of relationships with each other. We have friendship among us, romantic relationships, blood relatives, people we are related to by law, professional relationships and a lot more. Each of the relationships that we share with other people is important to us in a lot of ways. Our parents and family protect us and give us a healthy atmosphere to grow, our friends stand beside us through thick and thin, our romantic partners give us the unparalleled experience of being in love and our professional relationships give us the strong base of skills and subsequent financial independence.
But among all these relationships, there is one particular bond that is perhaps more dear to us than the rest; the bond shared by a brother and a sister. It is difficult to describe this bond. Decoding the feelings, the love and the emotions that exist between siblings is a hard task. You cannot formulate an exact definition; all that you can be sure of is the presence of a strong companionship and an assurance that even if the world turns against you, there will always be that one brother/sister whom you trust blindly. In the Hindu tradition, this bond is not just acknowledged but commemorated with a formal ceremony. This ceremony is called “Bhai Dooj” in Hindi. It is called by various names across various languages throughout the sub-continent but the core belief of the ceremony remains the same. “Bhai Dooj” is a special occasion for brothers and sisters that celebrates the bond between them.
Myths and Legends Associated with Bhai Dooj
There are many legends associated with the origins of “Bhai dooj”. There is a legend involving Yama, one with Lord Krishna and Subhadra, another with Lord Mahavira and then there is “Bhai Phonta”. Nowhere in the world is this bond between brother and sister more glorified than in India. This bond is celebrated not once but twice a year through “Raksha Bandhan” and “Bhai Dooj”. It is not a mere celebration but an affair that involves meaningful rituals and customs. It is a tradition. Thus, it is natural that such a ceremonial matter would have some legends associated with it. Let us have a look at some of them.
This legend is associated with the South Indian version of “Bhai Dooj” known as “Yama Dwiteeya”. In this legend, Yamaraj went to meet his sister Yamuna. A delighted Yamuna gave him a ceremonial welcome by offering him sweets, doing aarti, putting a tika on his forehead and treating him to delicacies. Yamaraj was happy at this warm reception and the love and care of his sister that he declared that any brother who receives tika from his sister on this day would escape hell and have a long life. Thus began the tradition of “Yama Dwiteeya”.
Lord Krishna and Subhadra
The most popular legend associated with “Bhai Dooj” is the story of Lord Krishna and Subhadra. It is said that Subhadra was very worried regarding Krishna. He had gone to defeat the demon Narakasura and Subhadra was apprehensive regarding the outcome. When Lord Krishna returned after defeating the demon, Subhadra was so happy that she welcomed him by performing aarti, putting tika on his forehead and offering him flowers and sweets. This act of putting tika on the forehead was a mark of protection. She promised to pray for the general well- being and long life of her brother.
Whatever Subhadra performed upon Krishna’s arrival became the ritual acts of “Bhai Dooj” and like her sisters pray for the good health of their brothers.
Nandivardhan and Sudarshana
Another legend attributes the start of “Bhai Dooj” to the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, Lord Mahavira. We he attained nirvana and dissociated himself from any worldly strings, his brother, King Nandivardhan started missing him terribly. In his days of gloom, he was comforted by his sister, Sudarshana. She took care of him and helped him tackle his loneliness. From then onwards, sisters started getting more respect from their brothers and the tradition of “Bhai Dooj” started. As a token of thanks for their sister’s care, brothers carry a gift for the sisters on this day when they come for a visit.
The ceremony of “Bhai Dooj” is called “Bhai Phonta” in Bengal. On this day, sisters fast religiously till the auspicious moment of putting a sandalwood mark on the brother’s forehead. The sister prays that all obstacles be removed from the path of her brother and that he may have a long life. This is a day when the bond between siblings is reinforced, there is an exchange of gifts and is occasion for merriment and feasting.
8 Things You Can Send as Gift to Your Brother Living in the USA
Some of us might not be lucky enough to have our brothers with us on “Bhai Dooj”. We cannot perform the rituals as our brothers are miles away from us. But that doesn’t mean we will stop commemorating it. “Bhai Dooj” celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters and we all agree there is not a single moment when that bond isn’t present. You might not be able to perform the customary rituals as your brother is in USA but you can still celebrate the spirit of “Bhai Dooj”. You can send him gifts on this auspicious day and let him know that you are his biggest well-wisher. Follow this BP Guide to choose the best gift for your brother on “Bhai Dooj”.
What we Indians miss the most while we are abroad is the delicious and wholesome dishes of the many Indian cuisines. Sure there are restaurants abroad that cater to the Indian palette but they do not come close to home made food or the same dishes made in India. So, this Bhai Dooj, gift your brother “Indian in 6: 100 recipes that use 6 ingredients or less” by Monisha Bharadwaj.
It is a cookbook that has simplified 100 Indian recipes and made it simple, healthy, easy to cook but at the same time, delicious. Your brother might not have the time to prepare elaborate, traditional Indian recipes so this book will be blessing. He will be able to get the same Indian flavors with much less effort and it would be healthy too. The book costs Rs. 440. It is available on www.amazon.in
Kurta is one of the most elegant attires for men coming from India. It makes a man look regal. It is also a more comfortable wear than any formal western clothing as a kurta is made entirely from cotton and is loose fitting. It is also a very versatile piece of clothing as it can be worn both as an everyday wear and on occasions. This full-sleeved kurta comes in a warm blue collar and sports a solid pattern. It comes at a price of Rs. 1,290 and can be bought from www.fabindia.com
Nehru jacket is one of those versatile fashion attires that can complement both Indian traditional and western clothing. Though mostly worn with traditional kurta-pyjamas, a Nehru jacket can also elevate a simple garb of shirt and trousers. This Nehru jacket is made from Tussar Ghicha silk, has a Chinese collar and is of a solid red shade. It is comfortable to wear. Give this as a Bhai Dooj give and make your brother look dapper on any occasion. It costs Rs. 2,690 and is available www.fabindia.com
Indians and tea are a love story few other romances could beat. Our mornings and evenings are incomplete without the aroma of ‘chai’ wafting in the air. So this Bhai Dooj gift your NRI brother same experience by giving this tea collection. The collection contains 10 g each pack of Assam Masala Chai, Ember Spice Chai, Bombay Cutting Chai, Kolkata Street Chai, Wayanad Cardamom Chai, Caramel Spice Chai and Punjabi Masala Chai. Thus, you see that almost all blends of tea available across India are included in the pack. This 7 item chai collection costs Rs. 343. It can be purchased from in.teabox.com
This is a 5 piece Matryoshka doll set depicting father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, his 3 monkeys and the Indian National flag. They are hand painted over an orange base. It is an interesting décor to adorn the mantelpiece, especially for an NRI like your brother. It would constantly remind him of his roots and the values displayed by Mahatma’s three monkeys. The whole sets cost Rs. 319. It can be purchased from www.amazon.in
Personalised Photo Album
No matter where you are, how comfortable and highly placed you are, there is nothing like home. Your brother might be having the time of his life in the United States but that is nothing compared to the warmth and love that only home and family can provide. He definitely misses home, its ambiance and most of all, you people who are staying miles apart in another continent. So this Bhai Dooj, gift your brother the best of all gifts- a slice of home.
Give him a personalized album consisting of the photos of you, your parents and other family members, old photos of his childhood and other nostalgic pictures. The album would be like a reassuring hand; whenever he would feel homesick or alone, he can flip through the pages and know for certain that there are people who would always have his back. This personalized album comes in various shapes, sizes and designs and can be created according to your fancies. It costs anywhere between Rs. 500 and Rs.2,400 depending on what features you choose for the album. Check out www.vistaprint.in for more.
This grooming kit for men includes 8 items and comes in a sturdy travel pack. The products in this kit are fragrant body spray, deo talc, soap, shaving cream, razor, shaving brush and after shave lotion. This pack ensures that the owner has a refreshing start to each and every day. The travel pack that comes with the combo sees to it that he can maintain this habit no matter where he is, whether at home or vacationing. It is a great gift for men especially for brothers in Bhai Dooj. The combo costs Rs. 524. It can be purchased from www.amazon.in
Cool R2 D2 Night Lamp
If your brother is a fan of Star Wars or likes to collect fun knick knack for the house, here's one he's going to love - an R2 D2 Night Lamp. Made of acrylic, the robot rests on a plastic base to create the lamp. It has a fantastic 3D visual effect that's highlighted by 9 LED lights, and looks rather impressive in the dark. That it can switch between 7 monochrome colors makes it all the more a visual treat. Some reviewers say it is rather on the bright side and susceptible to power fluctuations, but it's a cool present nonetheless. Buy it on www.amazon.com for $11.29, which comes to a little over Rs. 800.
Remind Your NRI Brother that He Still Holds an Impressionable Place in Your Heart by Gifting Him these Items on Bhai Dooj
Work, travel and other commitments sometimes keep us away from our loved ones. If your brother is also living away from you and you want to remind him that you still love him, go for these amazing gift choices for Bhai Dooj. Don't forget to ask for your own gift!