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Did you know there is a “Brother’s Day”?

The Nepalese tradition of Bhai Tika

Nepalese have a very lovely tradition called Bhai Tika where we celebrate the brother – sister relationship. It’s like a Brother’s Day celebrated by the sisters – if that makes sense?

Many of you probably now know Diwali (thanks to Obama for wishing all the Hindus on this festive occasion). Its generally known as the “Festival of Lights” celebrated in India. But you probably would not know that this festival is also celebrated in neighbouring countries like Nepal. We of course, call it Tihar its celebrated for 5days – each day having its own significance – the first day to the crows – yes the black bird. I don’t really know the reasoning behind this. The second day to the dogs. I unfortunately (and shamefully) don’t know the reasoning behind this either. But it’s a good day to celebrate man’s most faithful friend. And then the third is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi – the goddess of wealth. I certainly know why I want to please this goddess 😀  Then the fourth is dedicated to ones own health & well being and it also marks the first day of the Lunar Calendar. And finally is the Bhai Tika.

I like this last day because I feel this just gives us a reason to celebrate & honour the relationship you have with your brother. I don’t have a brother of my own but I celebrate this day with a cousin whom I have known since a kid. SS captured some good photos and I thought I should share this unique tradition with you 🙂

Every Nepalese ritual begins with lighting the oil lamp & offerings to Lord Ganesha.

Every Nepalese ritual begins with lighting Sukunda – the oil lamp. The silver plate on the top right is for the “Puja” & pinches of its contents – the rice grains, the flower petals etc are sort of sprinkled on the Sukunda and symbolises respect to the gods. The flower created using the white powder is the Mandap. On the top left, is a plate of fruits with a symbolic garland made of the purple flowers – don’t really know what they are called, unfortunately.

Fruits also form part of the offerings to the gods.

Fruits also form part of the offerings to the gods. (And I decided to make a fruit an incense holder too)

The combination of fried fish, hard boiled egg & a drink (usually rice wine) is called Sagun

The combination of fried fish, hard boiled egg & a drink (usually rice wine) is called Sagun and is only offered on auspicious occasions or celebratory moments. Although there is no reason why you absolutely cannot have all of the that on an everyday basis, the combination is what holds a special meaning.
The offering of Sagun preceded by the tradition of putting Tika (a pasty combination of rice grains, yoghurt & red vermilion) on the forehead.

Selected some of my brother's favourite food as gifts.

Selected some of my brother’s favourite food as gifts. Generally the culture is that the sister invites the brother to her home and prepares all the lovely food that the brother likes.
Well, don’t judge me, not everything I “gifted” was pulled from the supermarket shelf. I did prepare lunch too 🙂

And I get Gorgeous dress as a gift from my brother.

… And the sister gets a lovely gift from the brother. I got 2 gorgeous dresses from him.

And that’s how its done – in short cut. If I was in Nepal, I am sure the process would have been way more elaborate. But the process is not as important as just celebrating the day itself. I wonder why there is no Sister’s Day though. I have a younger sister and would totally love to celebrate a day for/with her.

So, was this a new tradition that I “enlightened” you on? Are you curious to know more? Feel free to ask me questions. Or did you just like the fact that a sister gets a gift from her brother every year – thats a pretty good & valid reason to like this tradition too 😉

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