Kolkata, November 13, 2010 (Calcutta Tube/ IBNS): ‘Bhai Phota’, as the Bengali community commonly calls the occasion, is a dedicated completely to brothers and sisters. The ceremony is all about a brother’s promise to protect his sister, while the sister prays for her brother’s long life.
Interestingly, the ceremony is also celebrated by other Indian communities under different names, like ‘Bhai Bij’, ‘Bhaubeej’ amongst the Marathi and Konkani speaking communities in the states of Maharashtra,Goa and Karnataka, while the rest of India celebrates it as ‘Bhai Dooj’.
The pages of Indian mythology refers that after slaying Narkasur, Lord Krishna visited his sister Subhadra, who gave him a warm welcome with sweets and flowers.
She also affectionately applied ‘tilak’ on Krishna’s forehead. Since then, the custom of celebrating ‘Bhai Phota’,‘Bhaubeej’, or Bhai Bij started.
On ‘Bhai Phota’, sisters pray for their brothers’ long and happy lives by performing the ‘tika’ ceremony, and brothers not only bless their sisters but also give them beautiful gifts.
Food plays a crucial role in every Indian festival, and ‘Bhai Phota’ is no exception.
In Bengal, sisters prepare tasty and delicious delicacies, including various sweets like ‘khaja’, ‘sandesh’, ‘Payesh’, which they serve to their brothers after performing the ‘tika’ ceremony.
Similarly, an important part of ‘Bhai Bij’ in Maharashtra is a special sweet called ‘Basundi Poori’ or ‘Shrikhand Poori’, which is specially served to brothers by their sisters on this day of love and affection.
The occasion of ‘Bhai Phota’ becomes all the more special as it gives the families and relatives staying far and wide a chance to re-unite and meet each other at least once a year.