Silchar: Bhai Phota festivities are in full swing. Bhai Phota is a special tradition and ritual for the people belonging to Bengali community. The festival strengthens the bond which is shared between a sister and a brother. It began on Thursday with Pratipadh and will end on Friday with Titiya. Sisters offer prayers for their brother’s long life and the brothers promise to protect their sisters. This festival is celebrated just two days after another important Hindu festival, Diwali. According to Bengali calendar, Bhai Phota falls in Shukla Paksha of Kartik month.
It is known as Bhai Dooj in rest of India. Literally, Bhai means brother and Phota means ‘a mark’ in the Bengali language. The name of the festival has its origin in the rituals of this festival. On this occasion, sisters put a tilak on the forehead of their brothers. Bhai Phota has got many legends associated with it. One legend is about Lord Krishna. Subhadra, the sister of Lord Krishna welcomed her brother with a lamp and put a tilak on his forehead when Lord Krishna came back after killing Narakasur.
Another legend is associated with the Rig Veda. Surya had twin children named Yama and Yamuna. Yama was invited by the Yamuna at her house. When Yama, the God of Death, came to meet Yamuna, she prayed for prosperity, success and well being of her brother. On the day of Bhai Phota, sisters make sandalwood paste and arrange for durba or tender grass shoots and paddy grains. Brothers are made to sit on ‘asanas’ or floor mats, tilak of sandalwood paste, curd and honey are put on their forehead by the sisters.
The sisters chant a mantra or hymn meant for this occasion. On this occasion, traditional Bengali breakfast and lunch are prepared. Typical breakfast comprises ‘luchi’ and ‘aloo dum’. For lunch different types of fish like Rohu, Hilsa, Prawn, Pabda, Chital etc are made. Special dishes of mutton and chicken are also prepared on this occasion. Sisters also offer Misti Doi or sweet curd to their brothers. Sister also makes Payash or kheer for their brothers. Brothers and sisters also exchange gifts.
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