Bhai Dooj is a prominent Hindu festival when women pray to the Gods for long and prosperous lives for their brothers. It is celebrated two days after the popular festival of Diwali, The Festival of Lights.
Ideally a sister meets with some or all of her brothers, places a line of sindoor on their foreheads and feeds them some sweets with her own hand. I suspect that Bhai Dooj is held so soon after Diwali because typically the family tries to be together for this major lunar festival in winter. The brother(s) give her presents in return before she returns to her husband’s family home.
The festival is very similar to Raksha Bandhan, as it celebrates the love between a brother and sister. Raksha Bandhan is also a lunar festival but it falls during the monsoon season and it might be more difficult for brothers and sisters to be together during the rains. The sisters will purchase a decorative string and send it along to her brother(s) along with a little packet of sindoor and ask that another woman in her brother’s family apply the blessing to his forehead and tie the string on his wrist.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
This was a VERY special occasion for Manju, Arun, Anil and Ajay. They had not been able to meet together for Bhai Dooj since long before Manju was married in 1967. Anil had been away at college in Delhi starting in 1963 and the college did not close for Diwali holidays.
After graduation, at the age of 20, he left for Canada to study for his PhD in Pyhsics at the University of Alberta. Even though he has travelled back to India many, many times, he was never there for Diwali, or Bhai Dooj two days later, until this year, 2014.