Oh! Is it that time of the year again? I wonder, standing amongst all the ladies of my family, being elbowed and cornered, with hands joined in prayer. My grandmother steers the puja with the same stories on brother-sister love that I am hearing since childhood and have learnt them by heart. I love these stories, as they are about sisters saving their brothers lives and teaching men to respect women.
I like this day as it comes after Diwali that gives me a chance to prepare one more fancy dress. My parents organize a huge get-together where all my distant cousins come to meet and greet the day. We eat tasty food, dance to music and laugh all day long. Bhai Dooj fills every corner of my home with giggles and beautiful memories.
What is Bhai Dooj?
It is a festival celebrated by Hindus where sisters pray for the wellbeing of their brothers, and brothers promise to protect their sisters at all cost. It comes on the second day of Vikrami Samvat and two days after Diwali.
How is Bhai Dooj celebrated?
Different people follow different rituals to celebrate this day. Some people like to celebrate it like Rakhi, and others tend to conduct rituals in private, among ladies only, as it is considered inauspicious for men to see any of it. In the latter case, the eldest lady of the house tells all the stories and conducts rituals side by side. In the end, all ladies slightly break chickpeas with their teeth and sow them in the soil. The reason behind the practice is to ensure that sisters will support their brothers by the grace of God.
What is the history of this festival?
this festival does not have a concrete reason for its celebration. Different
people know different reasons and follow varied rituals. But the idea is one –
strengthen the bond between siblings.
One famous story behind the origination of this festival is when Subhadra invited Lord Krishna after he defeated the asura king Narkasur. She greeted her brother with aarti, and Lord Krishna blessed her with boons.
Another famous story is of Yamaraj and her sister Yami. When Yami welcomed Yamaraj to her house with tilak and aarti, he blessed her with all his heart and announced Bhai Dooj as an auspicious day to strengthen the love between brothers and their sisters.
It’s okay. It is. Okay? A Feminist Outlook
Scrolling down Google, reading more information on Bhai Dooj, I found a few articles giving feminist touch to this festival. Many people think Bhai Dooj has its roots in patriarchal biases. They dislike that only women perform rituals for the wellbeing of their brothers, somewhat a similar line to Karwachauth, where wives fast for husbands.
I believe it is incorrect to think in such a way, as such a thought stains the beautiful reasons for celebrating these festivals. It is essential to understand the root messaging of these festivals and then decide whether to solemnize them or not, its not about gender but about the bond between siblings be it brother & sister or be it sister & sisters or brother & brother.
No person must give inappropriate reasons in the name of feminism promoting to stop celebrating such festivals altogether.
Read Five Days of Diwali