Bhai Dooj festival is very similar to Raksha Bandhan, as it celebrates the bond between a brother and sister. Bhai Dooj is celebrated on the second lunar day of Shukla Paksha(bright fortnight) in the Vikram Samvat Hindu Calendar month of Kartika. It is known by various names in different like Bhau Beej, Bhai Teeka and Bhai Phota.
On this day sisters apply ‘tilak’(Teeka) on the foreheads of their brothers and receive presents in return.
The reason behind celebrating this festival is mythological.
1. Yamraj(Death Of God) visited his sister this day
According to mythology, Yamraj used to love his sister Yamuna more than his life. But he wasn’t able to see his sister due to heavy workload. One day Yama, the death of god, visits his sister Yamuna and she puts tilak on his forehead. Yama became very happy after seeing the hospitality and presents her with many gifts. She takes an oath from Yamraj that every year on this day he will come to meet her.
Later, Yama announces that on this day any brother who has tilak applied by his sister will get good health and fortune. Hence the day is called ‘Bhai Dooj’.
Since then, on this day brothers visit sisters who apply tilak on their forehead. The day is also known as Bhaubeej, Bhai Phota and Bhai Tika.
2. Raja Nandivaran and his sister
Another popular legend is that on this day Bhagwaan Mahavir found nirvana. His brother Raja Nandivardhan was in deep sorrow because he missed Mahavir and was comforted by his sister Sudarshana. Since then, women have been respected during this festival. That’s why this festival creates a bond between brothers and sisters.
3. Lord Krishna was welcomed by his sister
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Krishna returned to his sister Subhadra after killing the demon Narakasu. Subhadra welcomed him with lighting lamps, flowers, sweets and applied tilak on his forehead. People say from that time celebrating this festival came into existence and the same rituals are still being followed.
According to common belief, the red Teeka marks the start of happiness, fortune, well-being and prosperity for the rest of brother’s life. In Nepal, seven different colors are used as tilak.