Just a day after Holi – the festival of colours, Holi Bhai Dooj is celebrated in north India majorly in Uttar Pradesh. It is an important Hindu festival celebrated to strengthen the bond of love between brothers and sisters. This festival is celebrated on the second day, which means, Dwitiya Tithi, as per Hindu Calendar. Bhai Dooj is also known by the name Bhratri Dwitiya. There are two celebrations of Bhai Dooj as per Hindu calendar. The more popular Bhai Dooj is the one is that is observed for two days after Deepavali Pooja. Holi Bhai Dooj is a less known festival but is popular in some regions. Famous texts on Hindu festivals, such as Dharma Sindhu, Nirnaya Sindhu and Vratraj do not mention about Holi Bhai Dooj. In order to observe Holi Bhai Dooj, it is essential that Dwitiya Tithi prevails. Therefore, depending on the day of Holika Dahan, Holi Bhai Dooj is observed either next day or the second day after Rangawali Holi.
However, in terms of significance, the Bhaidooj which falls right after Holi is equally important. Bhai Dooj should also be observed with Dwitiya tithi prevails. According to Drikpanchang, Dwitiya Tithi Begins at 04:05 am on March 3 and will end at 02:18 on March 4. The auspicious puja timings are from 11:10 am to 12:10 pm. On this day, sisters pray for their brothers’ well being by offering special prayers. They cook traditional recipes for their brothers on this day. According to a popular legend, if siblings take bath in the Yamuna river on this day, then Yami, sister of Lord Yama will protect them from death. They will be blessed with long life.
Here’s the mantra:
पूजन मंत्र: ॐ सूर्यपुत्राय विद्महे महाकालाय धीमहि तन्नो यमः प्रचोदयात्॥
Facing southward, the sister chants Yamraj’s name ten times. The sister keeps a ball of rice with a dash of sindoor on it on her brother’s palm. Then she adds Paan, beetle leaf, beetle nut and flowers to it and pours water over it while chanting a special mantra. She ties the sacred thread on her brother’s right wrist and prays for his well-being. A lamp with mustard oil and dhoop are lit. Tej Patta, Laung, Coconut, black pepper, almond etc are offered. Besides this, revadi, a sweet preparation made of sesame seeds are offered to the almighty. Then this is distributed as Prasad. And then later in the evening, a lamp with four wicks facing towards all the four directions is lit and kept outside the main entrance of the house.