Importance of Bhai Tika | Significance of Bhai Tika | Why Bhai Tika is celebrated:- Bhai Tika is one of the most important festivals of Hindus of Nepal. In honor of brothers and strengthening the sibling bond, sisters offer Tika and wish them long life, prosperity, and happiness on the last day of the Tihar festival.
This festival of “Worshipping” brothers is considered one of the most symbolic and beautiful festivals that celebrates the sibling bond. Celebrating Bhai Tika is important in several aspects.
However, before jumping into the importance, let’s find out what Bhai Tika means and its mythological and historical background.
- What is Bhai Tika?
- 5 Days of Tihar Festival
- The mythology behind Bhai Tika
- Bhai Tika Rituals
- What is Sapta Rangi Tika?
- 9 Importance of Bhai Tika: Why is Bhai Tika Celebrated?
- Forms of celebrations
What is Bhai Tika?
Bhai Tika is the last and most important day of one of Nepal’s biggest festivals, Tihar. Also called Deepawali, and celebration of lights, it is celebrated for 5 consecutive days starting from the “Trayodashi of Kartik Krishna Paksha” and ending on “Dwitiya of Kartik Sukla Paksha” every year.
The last and final day of this festival is to celebrate one of the most important relationships between brothers and sisters. This day is the day to show immense love and respect one has for brothers and sisters.
The 5 days of the Tihar festival in Nepal are marked by worshipping 4 different creatures associated with the God Yama, while the 5th day is reserved for the worshipping of people themselves.
5 Days of Tihar Festival
Day 1: Kaag Tihar
The first day of the Tihar festival is called Kaag (Crow) Tihar. Crow or kaag is considered the messenger of the god of Death, Yama, and hence crows are worshipped on the first day of Tihar by offering grains, sweets, and seeds to them.
As per Hindu mythology, crows’ cawing is associated with grief and sadness as crows are believed to carry bag messages from the god of Death, Yama. Crows are worshipped on this day to soothe them and wand off death or any grief in the family for the coming year.
Kaag Tihar marks the beginning of the beautiful festival Tihar and people start decorating the house with beautiful lights from this day.
Day 2: Kukur Tihar
The second day of the festival is Kukur Tihar. Also known as Khicha Puja, all the Dogs are worshipped by putting tika on their forehead and garlands around their necks on this very special day.
Dogs are honored on this day and are offered different treats, thereby thanking dogs for their lifelong loyalty, companionship, and services to humankind. This day is very important to the humans who own dogs and have a special relationship with their dogs.
Day 3: Gai Tihar and Lazmi Puja
Gai marks the third day of Tihar (Cow) ‘s worshipping in the morning and Goddess Laxmi in the evening. As per Hinduism, cows are special and are considered sacred, and thus Cows are revered on the third day of this festival. Similarly, this day is also the day to worship Goddess Laxmi.
In the evening, every household conducts Laxmi puja and decorate their homes with lights and Diyas to welcome goddess Laxmi at home. Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is welcomed home by conducting special puja.
On this day, the city glows up with lights and firecrackers. Not only in Nepal, is Laxmi puja performed in various Indian states as well.
Day 4: Mha Puja and Govardhan Puja
The fourth day of Tihar is the day to worship the OX. Since OX is provided labor, especially for an agricultural country like Nepal, on this day, OX is honored for its help in cultivation.
Similarly, among the Newar Community, this day is very popular for worshipping self-soul. Also called Mha Puja, Newars have a unique tradition of worshipping soul within on this day.
Day 5: Bhai Tika
The last and final day of Tihar is Bhai Tika. This day is also known as Kija Puja among the Newars of Nepal and Bhai Dhooj among the Indians who celebrate this festival.
This day is considered important as this day marks the beautiful bond between the brothers and sisters. This day is celebrated to honor the pure bond and relations between brothers and sisters.
The mythology behind Bhai Tika
As per Mythology, Bhai Tika is being celebrated after Jamuna pleaded the God of Death to save her brother from untimed death. It is believed that when goddess Jamuma’s brother fell ill, the god of Death Yama came to take Yamuna’s brother’s soul.
She is pleased with the Yama to wait until she finishes puja for her brother. She then embarked on a long and elaborative ritual. Jamuna asked Yama not to take her brother away until the Tika on his forehead fade, water sprinkled on him dry, and the marigold garland around the neck fade away.
It is believed that the Yamuna became successful in saving her brother’s life as the god of death saved Yamuna’s brother’s life considering the immense sibling bond. Since then, every year, Bhai Tika has celebrated for Brothers and sisters’ long life and prosperity.
Bhai Tika Rituals
For Bhai Tika, very long and elaborative rituals are performed by the sisters and brothers. Below are the detailed rituals performed at Bhai Tika for the celebrations.
- At the beginning of the ceremony, sisters draw 3 boundaries or Mandaps at a much designated place.
- 3 Mandaps made are for three Gods, Lord Ganesh, Yamaraj (God of Death), and Janmaraj (God of Birth)
- Sisters are first required to worship three gods, after which; she invites her brother or brothers to take at sitting for the different ceremonies.
- Special offerings, including Rotis, fruits are placed in from of the brothers. One of the most important offerings is the Bhai Masala (Dried Fruits)
- Sisters then circle her brother, pouring oil and holy water, representing a boundary over which Evil cannot surpass. Then, sisters worship brothers offering nuts, flowers, fruits.
- Before applying the Tika, the sisters break walnut to keep all evils out.
- Followed by breaking of walnut, sisters perform the most important festival- putting Tika over brother’s forehead. The Tika that is placed over the forehead is also called Saat Rangi Tika (7 colored Tika). Before applying the 7 colored Tika, a white base is used on the forehead over which 7 colored Tika is placed.
- Different 7 colors are dabbed over the white base with fingers.
- Finally, in the end, a flower garland is placed around the neck as the sister preys on her brother’s long life, prosperity, and continued happiness. A garland of Makhamali flowers is placed around the neck. Brothers, too, put Tika over the sister’s forehead for her long life and happiness.
- The celebrations end with exchanging gifts, eating delicious feasts, and playing card games.
What is Sapta Rangi Tika?
During Bhai Tika, siblings or brothers and sisters apply Sapta Rangi tika on each other’s forehead. It is believed that these 7 colors are the reflection of sunlight, and putting these 7 colored tika on each other’s forehead symbolizes the wish for each other to be as powerful as the Sun.
Similarly, it is also believed that these colors are a symbol of change. The colors are Red, White, Green, Yellow, Blue, purple, and pink.
9 Importance of Bhai Tika: Why is Bhai Tika Celebrated?
Below are a few of the importance of Bhai Tika and why this festival is celebrated around the world by Nepalese.
- A festivity that rests on ritual, love, and Pujas:
While festivals like Durga Puja, Krishna Janmasthami honors the mythological Gods and Goddesses, Bhai Tika is one of the unique festivals among the Hindus that celebrates the pure brother-sister relationship.
This festival’s premise is love, traditional rituals, and pujas. Various types of puja are performed during the festivities that honor the sibling relationship.
- Honors pure brother-sister relation:
Bhai Tika, like no other festivals in Nepal, is dedicated to brothers and sisters relationship. Though siblings tend to disagree or fight all year long, this festival is the occasion to show each other the pure love they have for each other.
To take tika from sisters, brothers from all around the world get back home, showing how important this festival is to every brother and sisters worldwide.
- Strengthen sibling bond:
One of the many reasons for celebrating this festival is that it enhances the sibling bond even more. No matter how much they tend to fight all year long, they get together on this beautiful day and receive tika from each other. This day helps in strengthening their bond and relationship.
- Taking forward the lengthy culture and tradition:
Bhai Tika is one of the most important traditions and cultures. Taking this on is our responsibility, and every year, all Nepalese around the world celebrate this festival with sisters. Hopefully, this unique festival will be celebrated in days to come as well.
- To protect brothers and sisters from Evil:
The essence of Bhai Tika is protecting brothers and sisters from Evil. As per myth, this festival is celebrated as the Yamuna successfully traded her brother’s life to the God of Death, Yamaraj. Seeing the pure love between Jamuna and her brother, Yama pardoned his life.
Since then, the rituals are performed to save brothers and sisters from death and Evil in the days to come.
- Festival of exchanging gifts:
One of the Bhai Tika’s main attraction among the kids are exchanging gifts. After the rituals are performed, brothers and sisters exchange gifts to make the day even more meaningful and beautiful.
- Festival of lights and food:
Tihar is the festival of lights, fun and course food. After Bhai tika rituals are completed, everyone in the family gets together and eats delicious delicacies. Sweets, Rotis, Bhai Masala, Meat items are the attraction of the treats. Playing poker game while eating delicious food make this beautiful festival even more attractive.
- Prepare Bhai Masala:
Preparing and offering Bhai Masala to the brothers is one of this festival’s major attractions. Preparing and offering the Bhai Masala (Assortment of dried fruits) by the sisters to her brother is the symbol of giving health as the dried fruit contents are rich in vitamins, minerals, and calcium.
The ingredients to prepare Bhai Masala are cashews, walnuts, dates, raisins, almonds, cloves, cinnamon, candy sugar, dried figs, and many more. All these ingredients are packed in beautifully and offered to brothers for the celebrations.
- Festival of the delicious feast:
Bhai Tika is one of the days when sisters invite brothers at the delightful feast home. Upon completing the rituals or pujas, all family members indulge in eating delicious food prepared by sisters just for the brothers.
Forms of celebrations
While Bhai Tika is celebrated auspiciously in Nepal, our neighboring country, India, celebrates this festival as “Bhai Dhoj,” which is similar to Bhai Tika but with few traditional differences.
However, it marks the bond between the brothers and sisters as well. On this day, sisters invite their brothers at home for elaborative pujas and delicious meals.
They perform traditional rituals for Bhai Dhoj and end the day by exchanging gifts and eating tasty feasts.
Bhai Tika, one of the most important celebrations among the Nepalese, is celebrating a special bond between brothers and sisters. Since this festival rests on the premise of a mutual bond between the siblings, the rituals performed during the festival make it one of the pure celebrations among all Nepal celebrations.
Bhai Tika 2020 falls on the 1st of Mangsir or 16th November. After celebrating the biggest festival of Nepal, Dashain, people get prepped up for celebrating the second biggest festival that is Tihar.
The five-day-long festival ends with the Bhai Tika rituals that are treasured festivities among all brothers and sisters worldwide. We would like to wish all brothers and sisters around the world a pleased Deepawali and Bhai Tika 2020.