Calendar

Aug
24
Sat
2019
Shree Krishna Janmashtami
Aug 24 – Aug 25 all-day
Shree Krishna Janmashtami

Krishna Janmashtami, also known as Janmashtami is a religious and one of the most important festival commemorating the birth of Lord Krishna. Krishna Janmashtami is also known as KrishnashtamiGokulashtamiAshtami RohiniSrikrishna Jayanti and Sree Jayanthi. Krishna was born on ‘Ashtami’ or the ‘eighth day’ at midnight in the holy month of Shravana. Most of the time, Krishna Janmashtami is listed on two consecutive days. The first one is for Smarta Sampradaya and other one is for Vaishanava Sampradaya. Vaishanava Sampradaya date is the latter one. A single date for Janmashtami means that both Sampradaya would observe Janmashtami on the same date.

The reason behind this unanimity is the institution of ISKCON. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, commonly known as ISKCON is founded on the principles of Vaishnava traditions and most followers of the ISKCON are the followers of Vaishnavism. In North India most people observe Janmashtami on the day chosen by ISKCON. Many people who are not the followers of Vaishnavism don’t even understand that ISKCON traditions are different and the most appropriate day to observe Janmashtami fasting might not be same as that of ISKCON. In ISKCON tradition, Janmashtami will be celebrated on 3rd Sepetember 2018.

Raas lila, a night vigil (jagarana), fasting (upavasa) and celebrations (mahotsava) are important parts of Janmashtami. The event is particularly celebrated by ardent Vaishnavism followers because Krishna is was the eighth avatar of God Vishnu. Lord Krishna’s uncle, King Kansa, wanted to kill him. So as soon as he was born, his father Vasudeva took him across the Yamuna to Gokul where he was then taken care of by his foster parents Nanda and Yashoda. On Janmashtami, devotees honour how Krishna emerged victorious over the trials and tribulations over his birth, and later over the evil King Kansa.

Believers fast the whole day, spending the time singing devotional songs. They also maintain a vigil into the night as Krishna was born at midnight. The devotees offer ‘chappan bhog’, a list of 56 dishes, to the God on the following day known as ‘Nanda Utsav’. After the offering, the prasad is then distributed and shared among the devotees.

Sep
1
Sun
2019
Al-Hijra, Islamic New Year
Sep 1 all-day
Al-Hijra, Islamic New Year

Al-Hijra is an annual Muslim festival marking the first day of the Islamic New Year and the month of Muharram. This day represents the journey of the Prophet Muhammed from two of the holiest sites in Islam, from Mecca to Medina, in 624CE. Hijra itself means “migration” in Arabic. Muharram itself is one of the four sacred months of the Islamic lunar calendar, of which there are 12 in total, and the second most important after Ramadan. The month moves from year-to-year as it follows the moon phases.

The names of the 12 months in the Islamic lunar Calendar are-

  1. Muharram
  2. Safar
  3. Rabiul-Awwal
  4. Rabi-uthani
  5. Jumadi-ul-Awwal
  6. Jumadi-uthani
  7. Rajab
  8. Sha’ban
  9. Ramadan
  10. Shawwal
  11. Dhil-Q’ada
  12. Dhil-Hijja

As in the western new year, Muslims often make resolutions on Al-Hijra, but the Islamic New Year and the wider sacred month are worshipped differently in the two predominant strands of Islam, Shiite and Sunni. For Shiites, he fact that the day coincides with the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala, which took place in the southern Iraqi city in 680, is significant. Shiites argue that only relatives of the Prophet Muhammad should succeed as caliph, which sparked the split between Shiite and Sunni after the Muhammed’s death. Mohammed’s first cousin, Ali, was murdered in 661 and at Karbala, his grandson Hussein Ibn Ali was killed by an army sent by Sunni caliph Yazid I. His defeat marked the ascendance of Sunni Islam over the Shiites, a discourse that is very much present in modern politics today, with Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran battling for influence in the Muslim world.

Shiites now mourn Hussain’s death for the first ten days of Muharram and take part in reenactments of the battle. Of particular significance is the tenth day of the month, known as Ashura, the day that Hussein was killed. Shiite Muslims fast and pray in the build-up to Ashura on what will be the Year 1438 AH, which stands for the year of “Hijra.” Millions of Shiite pilgrims travel to their holiest sites for the commemoration, located in both Iran and Iraq, particularly Karbala, which is situated 100 kilometers south of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. They mourn, beat their chests in what is called Latyma, and self-flaggelate, cutting incisions into their heads with machetes. Sunni Muslims, instead of mourning, fast on the day of Ashura to celebrate the victory of Moses over an Egyptian pharaoh on the 10th day of the sacred month.

Sep
2
Mon
2019
Ganesh Chaturthi
Sep 2 all-day
Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi and Ganesh Chauth, is celebrated as birth anniversary of Lord Ganesh. On Ganesh Chaturthi, Lord Ganesh is worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. It is believed that Lord Ganesh was born during Shukla Paksha of Bhadrapada month. Currently Ganesh Chaturthi day falls in month of August or September in English calendar according to the Hindu calendar.

Ganesha, one of the most beloved gods is known by 108 different names in our culture. He is considered to be a symbol of good fortune, wisdom, prosperity and wealth. The Ganeshotsav, the festivity of Ganesh Chaturthi, ends after 10 days on Anant Chaturdashi which is also known as Ganesh Visarjan day. On Anant Chaturdashi, devotees immerse idol of Lord Ganesh in water body after a gala street procession.

As per Hindu time-keeping, the time duration between sunrise to sunset is divided into five equal parts. These five parts are known as Pratahkala, Sangava, Madhyahna, Aparahna and Sayankal. Ganapati Sthapana and Ganapati Puja on Ganesha Chaturthi are done during Madhyahna part of the day and as per Vedic astrology it is considered the most appropriate time for Ganesha Puja.

Out of all the stories linked to the history of this festival, the most relevant one dates back to the time of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is believed that Parvati is the creator of Ganesha. The story says that Parvati used her sandalwood paste and created Ganesha in the absence of Shiva. She gave him the work of guarding her bathroom door while she was bathing. After Shiva returned home, Ganesha and Shiva got into a tiff due to which Shiva severed the head of the child. Witnessing this site, Parvati enraged and Lord Shiva promised getting Ganesh back to life. The followers searched for a child’s head facing north, but all they could find was an elephant’s head. And that’s how our Gajanana was born.

It is believed that one should not sight the moon on Ganesh Chaturthi. Sighting moon on Ganesh Chaturthi creates Mithya Dosham or Mithya Kalank (कलंक) which means false accusation of stealing something. As per Puranic legends, Lord Krishna was falsely accused of stealing precious jewel named Syamantaka. After seeing plights of Lord Krishna, Sage Narada informed that Lord Krishna sighted moon on the day of Bhadrapada Shukla Chaturthi and because of that he has been cursed with Mithya Dosha. Sage Narada further informed Lord Krishna that God Chandra has been cursed by Lord Ganesha that anyone who sighted moon on Shukla Chaturthi during Bhadrapada month would be cursed with Mithya Dosha and would be tainted and dishonoured in the society. On the advice of sage Narada Lord Krishna observed Ganesha Chaturthi fasting to get rid of Mithya Dosha.

If anyone has mistakenly sighted moon on Ganesha Chaturthi then he should chant following Mantra to get rid of the curse –

सिंहः प्रसेनमवधीत्सिंहो जाम्बवता हतः।
सुकुमारक मारोदीस्तव ह्येष स्यमन्तकः॥
Sinhah Prasenamavadhitsinho Jambavata Hatah।
Sukumaraka Marodistava Hyesha Syamantakah॥
Sep
10
Tue
2019
Muharram
Sep 10 all-day
Muharram

The new moon signals the beginning of the month of Muharram which refers to the first month of the Islamic lunar Calendar. The Hijri New Year is the name given to the first day of the month. It is the tenth and the most significance day of the sacred month of Muharram according to the Muslims. Shia Muslims celebrate this day to mourn the death of Husayn Ibn Ali, the Sunni Muslims observe this day to celebrate the victory of Moses over Egyptian Pharaoh.

Muharram marks the anniversary of the battle of Karbala and is widely commemorated by Shia Muslims. According to the legend popular among Shia Muslims, Husayn Ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, was beheaded during the Battle of Karbala on the tenth day of Muharram. Husayn Ibn Ali is an important figure in Muslim religion and is believed to be a member of the Muhammad’s household. During the reign of Yazid, it is believed that Husayn refused to accept the Islamic rules laid down by Yazid. Instead, Husayn decided to revolt against the ruler which led to the uprising in Karbalan. During the battle of Karbalan, Husayn was beheaded while his family was imprisoned in Damascus. However, according to Sunni Muslims, it was on this day that Moses gained victory over Egyptian Pharaohs. Moses was a religious leader and was meant to propagate religious teachings around the world.

Shia and Sunni Muslims, both the factions observe fast on this day, with the Sunni Muslims observing fast for an extra day, either before or after this day. It is believed that this extra fasting day is observed in accordance with the teachings of Muhammad Prophet. In certain cases, the Shia Muslims fast for the whole month and also flagellate themselves with sticks and rods on this day. They harm themselves to commemorate the sufferings of Husayn Ibn Ali while fighting against the oppressive regime of Yazid. Muharram is a period for self-reflection and to remember the battle of Karbala.

Sep
11
Wed
2019
Onam
Sep 11 all-day
Onam

Onam is a Hindu festival celebrated by the people of Kerala. Onam is Malayali festival which is celebrated by native speakers of Malayalam. Onam is the National festival of Kerala and it is celebrated by the people of the State with great enthusiasm and happiness. Onam day is decided based on Solar Calendar. Onam is celebrated in Chingam month (August – September) on Malayalam Solar Calendar. Chingam month is known as Simha month in other solar calendars and Avani month in Tamil Calendar. The day when Nakshatra Thiruvonam prevails in month of Chingam is considered for Onam celebrations. Thiruvonam Nakshatra is known as Shravana in other Hindu Calendars. It is the biggest festival celebrated with joy and enthusiasm by people of all communities in Kerala, with four days of State holiday.

During the reign of mighty asura (demon) king, Mahabali, Kerala witnessed its golden era. Every body in the state was happy and prosperous and king was highly regarded by his subjects. Apart from all his virtues, Mahabali had one shortcoming. He was egoistic. This weakness in Mahabali’s character was utilized by Gods to bring an end to his reign as they felt challenged by Mahabali’s growing popularity. However, for all the good deed done by Mahabali, God granted him a boon that he could annually visit his people with whom he was so attached. The festival commemorates the appearance of Vamana avatar of Vishnu and the subsequent home coming of the legendary Emperor Mahabali. Onam celebrates the Asura King Mahabali’s annual visit from Patala (the underworld). On Thiruvonam day, Asura King Mahabali is believed to visit every Malayali home and meet his people.

The celebrations of Onam start on Atham day (the day when Atham Nakshatra prevails) and continue for 10 days till Thiruvonam day. Atham Nakshatra is known as Hasta Nakshatra in other Hindu Calendars.

Rich cultural heritage of Kerala comes out in its best form and spirit during the ten day long festival. It is indeed a treat to be a part of the grand carnival. People of Kerala make elaborate preparations to celebrate it in the best possible manner. Another enchanting feature of Onam is Vallamkali,the Snake Boat Race, held on the river Pampa. It is a colourful sight to watch the decorated boat oared by hundreds of boatmen amidst chanting of songs and cheering by spectators.

Oct
6
Sun
2019
Durga Maha Navami
Oct 6 all-day
Durga Maha Navami

Mahanavami is celebrated on Ashwin Shukla Paksha Navami, the ninth and the final day of Durga Navratri or Durga Puja. On Maha Navami Goddess Durga is worshipped as Mahisasuramardini which means the Annihilator of the Buffalo Demon. It is believed that on Maha Navami day goddess Durga killed the demon Mahishasura. On this day, the goddess Durga is worshipped in the form of Aparajita also, by offering her sugarcane stalks. Matangi Dasamahavidya too, is worshipped on Mahanavami as a part of Dasamahavidya pooja in Navratri. Mukteshwari is the Goddess to be worshipped on ninth day of Navratri as part of Saptamatrika and Ashtamatrika puja. Goddess Siddhidatri puja is performed on Mahanavami day, by the Navadurga Shakteya sampradaaya people.

The precise rule is that if Ashtami and Navami merge before Sanyakal on Ashtami Tithi then Ashtami Puja and Navami Puja including Sandhi Puja are done on the same day. Navami Homa is performed on Maha Navami and it is the significant ritual during Durga Puja.

In the northern part of India, Kanya Pujan is observed on this day. Their feet are washed, kumkumis applied on the forehead and given gifts and new clothes by the worshippers. While in Gujarat, Mahanavmi is celebrated with Garba and dandiya raas as other eight days of Navratri. In the east, Navami is of great significance in Bengal as it is the last day of Durga Puja. In the southern region of India, Suhasini Puja is performed. Married women, a symbol of Maha Shakti, are offered the Shodasopachara Puja. Followers of Dus Mahavidyas worship Matangi on this day and Maa Siddhidhatri is worshipped by Navdurga Sampradaya followers.

Durga Mahashtami
Oct 6 all-day
Durga Mahashtami

Maha Ashtami, also known as Maha Durgashtami is one of the most Auspicious days of Durga Puja and Navratri Celebration. It is celebrated on 8th day of Navratri which falls on the Ashtami Tithi of Chaitra month according to Hindu Calendar. On Maha Ashtami nine small pots are installed and nine Shaktis of Durga are invoked in them. All nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshipped during Maha Ashtami Puja. Durga Ashtami is also known as Astra Puja as on this day, the weapons of Goddess Durga are worshipped.

Young unmarried girls, being treated as Goddess Durga itself, are also worshipped on Maha Ashtami. Worshipping of young girls during Durga Puja is known as Kumari Puja. In many regions Kumari Puja is done during all nine days of Durga Navratri.

According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga is the mother of mankind and is believed to be the power behind the creation, preservation and destruction of the universe. The Hindu warrior Goddess Durga is typically portrayed as a beautiful woman with ten arms that bear divine weapons to protect each one of us. Her role in Indian mythology is very strong and powerful. She has been worshipped as the supreme power of the universe. She is a multi-dimensional Goddess, with many names and many persons. On the day of Durga Ashtami, Goddess Durga is worshipped as Maha Gauri, she is considered to be extremely beautiful. She represents calmness and exhibits Wisdom. Her power is unfailing and praying to her is instantly fruitful. The left upper hand holds a ‘Damru’ and the lower one is in the pose of granting boons to her devotees. It is believed that Goddess Kali appeared on this day from the forehead of Durga Maa and annihilated Chanda, Munda and Raktabija who were the demons associated with Mahishasur.

The legendary Sandhi Puja is also falls on Maha Asthami. The time window, commenced in the last 24 minutes of Ashtami Tithi till the first 24 minutes of Navami Tithi is known as Sandhi Time or the holy juncture during Durga Puja. Sandhi time is considered the most auspicious time during whole Durga Puja. Sandhi Puja is the culmination point and the most important ritual of Durga Puja. It is customary to perform Balidan or animal sacrifice at this sacred juncture. Devotees who abstain from animal sacrifice perform symbolic Bali with vegetables like banana, cucumber or pumpkin. For Brahmins any type of animal sacrifice is prohibited by scriptures and Brahmin community does only symbolic Bali. Even the famous Belur Math in West Bengal does symbolic Bali with banana during Sandhi Puja. It is customary to light 108 earthen lamps during Sandhi Kaal.

Oct
8
Tue
2019
Dussehra
Oct 8 all-day
Dussehra

Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated as victory of Lord Rama over Demon Ravana on the tenth day of Ashvin or Ashwayuja Shukla Paksha as per the Hindu lunar calendar which falls in the Gregorian months of September or October. It is also triumph of Goddess Durga over the buffalo Demon Mahishasura. Vijayadashami is also known as Dussehra or Dasara. In Nepal Dasara is celebrated as Dashain. Apart from India, Dussehra is also celebrated in Bangladesh. Malaysia has an official holiday to mark the religious festival. It is a festival of reverence of good and its power to subdue evil.

According to Hindu mythology it was the day when Lord Rama killed Ravana, the demon King of Lanka to rescue his beloved wife Sita, after cutting ten heads of Ravana, on the tenth day of the ensuing battle. Hence, to celebrate the day, colossal effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhkarna and son Meghnath, filled with crackers and surrounded by fireworks, are burnt to signify the end of evil. Besides this, play enactments of Ramayana, known as Ram Leela are also preformed across India preceding Dussehra. These plays are based on the epic Ramayana, which describes the life saga of Lord Rama. Ravan’s ten heads represents ten bad qualities of a person-

  1. Lust – Kam Vasana
  2. Anger – Krodh
  3. Attachment – Moh
  4. Greed – Lobh
  5. Over Pride – Mad
  6. Jealousy – Matsarya
  7. Selfishness – Swarth
  8. Injustice – Anyaay
  9. Cruelty – Amanavta
  10. Ego – Ahankar

The festival is celebrated in different ways in different parts of India in various ways. In Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated as Golu. The idols are set to create various settings that portray their culture and heritage. The story goes like since the goddess Durga needed tremendous power, all other gods and goddesses transferred their power to her and they all stood still as statues. Golu ends on Dusshera. In Northern parts of India like Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and western Bihar, it is a tradition to plant barley seeds in earthen pots on the first day of Navratri. On the day of Dusshera, the sprouts are used as symbols of luck. The festival also mark the change of the agriculture crops, farmers now harvest the Kharif crops and after Diwali starts with the Rabi crop. It marks the beginning of pleasant and cooler climate after the monsoon.

Oct
27
Sun
2019
Diwali
Oct 27 all-day
Diwali

Diwali, the Indian festival of lights, is celebrated at the end of Ashwin month with its festivities continuing till the beginning of Kartika month, based on the auspicious Hindu calendar and is one of the most widely celebrated religious occasions across the world. On the day of Diwali, people gets up early in the morning and pay tribute to their ancestors and worship family gods. Being Amavasya day, people also perform Shradh for their ancestors. Traditionally, most Puja are performed after keeping a day long fast. Hence, the devotees of Goddess Lakshmi observe a day long fast on the day of Lakshmi Puja. The fast is broken after Lakshmi Puja in the evening.

Unlike most Indian festivals, the vivacious festival of Diwali is revelry continues for five days while some part of South India celebrates Diwali as a one day festival. The first day of Diwali festivities is known as Dhanteras, on which most of the business communities in India begin their financial year. Naraka Chaturdasi marks the second day of festivities and the third day is celebrated Diwali, also known as Deepawali or Deepavali which involves the worship of Goddess Laksmi and Lord Ganesha. On the fourth day, Govardhan Puja is performed, whereas the final day is known as Bhai Dooj and celebrates the love between a brother and sister.

The most popular tradition behind Diwali dictates that it marks the day on which the Hindu deity Lord Ram returned to his home city of Ayodhya after vanquishing the demon king Ravana. According to mythology, lights were lit all across the country to celebrate his return to rule. It is widely believed that Diwali is the day on which the Hindu goddess of prosperity, Lakshmi supposedly roams the Earth and blesses people with wealth and happiness. Another belief for Jainism, India’s sixth largest religion, is that this is the day on which the last of the 24 Thirthankaras (Great Teachers), Lord Mahavira attained ‘Nirvana’. Sikhs celebrate Diwali as the occasion on which their teacher Guru Hargobind Ji was released from the captivity of Mughal ruler Jahangir in Gwalior along with several Hindu kings.

Many communities especially Gujarati businessmen do Chopda Pujan during Diwali Puja. During Chopda Puja new account books are inaugurated in presence of Goddess Lakshmi to seek Her blessing for the next financial year. Diwali Puja is also known as Deepavali Puja and Lakshmi Ganesh Pujan.

Narak Chaturdashi
Oct 27 all-day
Narak Chaturdashi

The fourteenth (Chaturdashi) day of the dark fortnight of Ashwin, when Shri krishna returned home at dawn, after slaying Narkasur, is known as ‘Narak Chaturdashi‘ or ‘Kali Puja‘. Five days Diwali festivity starts on Dhantrayodashi and lasts on Bhaiya Dooj day. Abhyang Snan has been suggested on three days i.e. on Chaturdashi, Amavasya and Pratipada days during Diwali.

According to Hindu legend, this day commemorates the victory of Goddess Kali, Goddess Satyabhama and Shri Krishna over Narakasura the demon-king. Narakasura ruled the kingdom of Pradyoshapuram. Puranas have it that Naraka, son of Bhudevi, acquired immense power from a blessing given by Lord Brahma after a severe penance. Narakasura was a demon-king who had imprisoned 16,000 women which included the daughters of the Gods. He had also defeated the king of the Gods, Lord Indra and stolen the earrings from Aditi, the mother of the Gods. Goddess Kali, Goddess Satyabhama and Lord Krishna thus fought the battle with the demon and defeated him with Krishna’s Sudarshana Chakra and Lord Krishna smeared his forehead with Naraka’s blood.

Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated in a special way in Goa, where paper-made effigies stuffed with grass and firecrackers are burst at four in the morning. Men take scented oil baths, while the women perform aarti for them. A bitter berry called the Kareeta is crushed under the feet which symbolises the killing of Narakasura, and the removal of evil and ignorance.

A thorough Pre-Diwali cleaning is done throughout the house to welcome Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. The literal meaning of ‘Kali Chaudas’ is dark and fourteenth, the day when Kali Puja or Shakti Puja is done. Kali Puja is usually celebrated in the eastern part of the country, where people pray for protection against spiritual, emotional and physical adversities. Gifts are exchanged and the atmosphere is filled with a mood of celebration and festivity. Different kinds of poha and sweets are prepared, offered to the God and enjoyed with family and friends.Diwali is usually celebrated on Narak Chaturdashi in south India, while others celebrate it on new moon night.

Abhyang Snan on Chaturdashi day, which is popularly known as Narak Chaturdashi, is the most significant one. It is believed that people, who do Abhyang Snan on this day, can avoid going to Narak. Narak Chaturdashi day is also known as Choti DiwaliRoop Chaturdashi and Roop Chaudas.

Oct
28
Mon
2019
Govardhan Puja
Oct 28 all-day
Govardhan Puja

Most of the time Govardhan Puja day falls next day after Diwali Puja in the month of Kartik and it is celebrated as the day when Lord Krishna defeated God Indra. Sometimes there might be one day gap between Diwali and Govardhan Puja. Gowardhan Puja is also known as Annakut Puja. On this day food made of cereals like wheat, rice, curry made of gram flour and leafy vegetables is cooked and offered to Lord Krishna.

The most popular legend that allude to the origin of Govardhan Puja, states that Govardhan was a small hillock that was located near Mathura at a place called Braj. According to the Vishnu Puraan, It was a common practice in Gokul to do Indra Puja year on year to please Indra who was believed to be the god of rains but Lord Krishna had to change such type of opinions of the people of Gokul. Lord Krishna told the people that it wasn’t Indra but Govardhan Parvat or Annakut hill that brought the rains and therefore the latter should be worshipped and prayed to. Govardhan Parbat (Govardhan hill) is the real God who is nurturing and saving your lives from drastic conditions by giving you food and shelter. When the people followed this ordinance, Lord Indira’s wrath on the people resulted in heavy rains. Lord Krishna then saved the people of Gokul by first praying to Govardhan Parvat and then lifting it on his little finger under which the people took shelter from the rains.

The main aspect of the puja is to install the Govardhan hill. For this, people make the image of Govardhan hill either in cow dung or mud. People also use some crafty fixtures and art work to simulate the eyes, lips and face of Lord Krishna on the Govardhan image. Fixing a peacock feather on it is the highlight. The other items used for the puja include two sugarcane sticks, fresh milk, yoghurt, batasha, peda and ladoos in addition to roll and chawal. Devotee uses a few earthen lamps, oil, wicks and gives Dakshina.

In Maharashtra the same day is celebrated as Bali Pratipada or Bali Padva. The day commemorates victory of Vamana, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, over King Bali and subsequent pushing of Bali to Patal Lok (the underworld). It is believed that due to boon given by Lord Vamana, Asura King Bali visits the Prithvi Lok from the Patala Lok on this day. It is also marks the day King Vikramaditya was coroneted and is known as the Vikram Samvat.

Oct
29
Tue
2019
Bhaiya Dooj
Oct 29 all-day
Bhaiya Dooj

The fifth or the last day of Diwali‘s five day long celebration is Bhaiya Dooj, popularly known as Bhai Duj. It falls on the second day after the new moon in the month of Kartik. On Bhaiya Dooj, sisters pray for their brothers to have long and happy lives by performing Tika ceremony and brothers offer gifts to their sisters. Bhaiya Dooj is also known as Bhau Beej and Bhathru Dwithiya. It is also celebrated as “Yama Dwitiya” in the southern parts of India.

There are few Hindu mythological based stories related to the origin of this auspicious day. A legend revolves around the story of Yama, the God of Death and his sister Yamuna. Long long ago, Surya, the sun God, was married to a beautiful princess called Sanjna (also pronounced as Sangya) and they got twins. The twins were christened Yama, and Varni or Yamuna. After some time, Sanjna was unable to bear the brilliance of her husband and decided to go back to earth by leaving her shadow, Chaya (exact replica) behind so that it would appear to Surya that she was still there. Chaya turned out to be a cruel stepmother and was very unkind to the twins. She soon gave birth to her own children and convinced Surya to drive out Yama and Varni from the heavens. Varni fell to earth and became the river Yamuna, and Yama went to the underworld (hell) and became the Lord of Death. When many years passed, Varni married a handsome prince and was happy in her life but she missed her brother. Yama, too, missed his sister and decided one day to visit her. One day when Yama decided to visit her, overjoyed Varni prepared a great feast in his honor. Yama, too, was delighted by his sister’s loving welcome and they spent a pleasant evening in each other’s company, after their long period of separation. When it was time for Yama to leave, he requested his sister to ask for something but she denied. But after Yama’s insist, she asked that all brothers should remember their sisters on this day and should visit them if they could, and all sisters should pray for the happiness of their brothers. Yama proclaimed that it would be and he would grant a long and healthy life to all brothers who wwould give their sisters a loving gift on that day!

According to the another legend, Lord Krishna visited his sister, Subhadra after killing demon Narkasur. Her sister gave a warm welcome to him and made the occasion really special through flowers and sweets. Subhadra also applied the ceremonial “tilak” on the forehead of her brother, Krishna on this auspicious day of “Bhai Dooj”.

Traditionally, Bhai dooj is applicable for brothers of married women. Apart from strengthening the bond, it gives the chance for the brother to visit and check on the conditions of his sister at her husband’s place.