Bhai Tika - The day to Celebrate Brothers and Sisters Love
Tihar, also known as the festivals of lights is one of the most beautiful and important festivals of Nepal. Tihar is celebrated for five days. The first day is known as Kaag puja in which the crow is worshiped. The second day of the festival is to worship dog to acknowledge the relationship between humans and dogs. The third day is known s Laxmi puja where Goddess Laxmi is worshiped by offering fruits and food made from rice flour. In the evening Laxmi, the goddess of wealth is thanked for all the benefits that were bestowed on the families by lighting oil lamps or candles on doorways and windows to welcome prosperity and well being. The fourth day of the Tihar is celebrated by worshiping a cow. According to Hinduism, Cow is regarded as a symbol of goddess Laxmi and signifies wealth and prosperity.
The final day of Tihar is known as Bhai Tika, Bhai Dhooj. It is one of the most important Hindu festivals for brothers and sisters to celebrate the bond between them. The story behind the celebration of the Bhai tika is so special. Once, a girl named Yamuna, whose brother was ill, prayed for his long and healthy life and when Yama, the god of death, had come to take her brother with him, she pleaded for some time to worship him. Yama then agreed to wait for some time. Yamuna then started to perform a long ceremony for her brother. She put a tika on the forehead of her brother and offers him mala of globe amaranth flower. She also drop oil on the floor making a circle to his brother and put the oil in his head too. Yama was very pleased to see that and agreed with Yamuna that until the flowers faded away and oil will get dry, he will not take yamuna's brother with him to heaven. As the flowers and the turf grass had remained fresh till the next Bhai Tika, Yama granted the boy a long time. Since then, the festival has been performed by the sisters for the long and healthy life of their brothers.
The Bhai Tika celebration takes place by performing the ritual traditionally. Brothers sit on the floor where the sisters apply the tika to their brothers. The tika is of 7 different colors for which it is also known as saptarangi tika. Along with the tika, the brothers are also offered with the garlands of flowers like marigold and globe amaranth flower. Sisters also offer sweets and fruits, chocolates and worship them in a traditional way. Then after, sisters get gifts in return from their brothers; some get money, some get gifts. Sisters pray for the long life of the brothers on that day.
Tihar, the festivals of light is so special to everyone who celebrates it. It is the only time of year when the environment is so delightful with beautiful decoration of lights, firecrackers and a time to shower the love between brothers and sisters.