Bhai Tika marks the final day of Nepal’s Tihar festival, where sisters apply colorful tika on their brothers’ foreheads, wishing them happiness and longevity.
In return, brothers give gifts and blessings to their sisters. Sisters perform rituals like drawing mustard oil trails and garlanding their brothers with flowers, while brothers also apply tika to their sisters.
Special sweets and delicacies are exchanged between siblings. The belief is rooted in a myth where a sister gains a boon from the god of death for her brother’s longevity. Even those without siblings participate by receiving tika from individuals they consider as brothers or sisters.
Additionally, the Balgopaleshwor Temple in Kathmandu opens specifically on this day every year.
Prof. Dr. Devmani Bhattarai, a theologian and a member of the National Calendar Determination Committee, advises that this year sisters should face west while applying tika, while brothers should face east. He explains that this aligns with the positioning of the North Moon in Scorpio, an auspicious alignment according to classical rules for bestowing blessings during this ritual.
Bhai Dooj in India
Bhai Dooj, also known as Bhai Tika or Bhai Phota in different regions of India, is a festival that celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. It falls on the second day after Diwali, known as Kartika Shukla Dwitiya in the Hindu calendar.
On this day, sisters perform aarti for their brothers, applying a vermilion tika (a mark) on their foreheads and offering prayers for their well-being, longevity, and prosperity. Sisters also perform a small ritual that involves applying a paste made of rice and vermillion on their brothers’ hands and then offering them sweets.
In return, brothers give gifts or tokens of love to their sisters and also offer blessings and promises to protect and support them throughout their lives.
Families often come together, share meals, and celebrate the bond between siblings. It’s a day that reinforces the strong relationship and love between brothers and sisters in Indian culture.