Friday, November 16, 2012

Brothers’ Day-Bhai Tika

I’m a Hindu, and so is my family. And you all know that yesterday was the Bhai Tika, the fifth and last day of Diwali celebrations. Two of my sisters who live here in Thimphu invited me. Because it’s the most significant day for a brother and sister in our culture; a day where a sister puts tika on forehead of her brother to ensure long life and thank him for the protection he gives. More importantly, this occasion honors brother-sister relationship, celebrating the holy emotional bond we share. 

My sisters have decorated their house with lights and flowers. It looked like a sparkling diamond. In every door and window, small clay lamps filled with oil were lighted to signify how the tiny flickers of light would waive off evil.

To begin the tika ceremony, my sisters performed a puja for Lord Ganesh, Janmaraj (the God of Birth), and Yamaraj. And I was requested to sit on a mat for the tika ceremony, as my sisters broke a walnut, praying for me:
No obstacles to come in my brother’s way,
If came, may it break like this nut.

Then, my sisters poured circles of oil and holy water from a copper pitcher around my body for three times. It signifies as a boundary over which death and evil spirits cannot pass me. Kneeling before me, they worshiped me with the offerings of flowers, nuts, fruits, and rice.

The most important act of the day was applying the special tika on my forehead. The tika consists of seven colored tika (the colours of the rainbow). First, my sisters applied a white base (made from rice paste) on my forehead and on top of it, they dabbed the tika with their fingers.

They have made a special marigold garland for me. As they put this flower garland around my neck and prayed for my long life, happiness and continued prosperity, they chanted this invocation:

Thus do I mark my brother’s forehead and thereby plant a thorn at the Door of Yamaraj, marking entrance into death impossible. As Jamuna streaked the forehead of her brother, so I do my brother’s. As Yamaraj is immortal, so may my brother also be immortal.

Because we believe that the tika drawn by our sisters on our foreheads protects us life from the clutches of Yamaraj, God of death. And performing of these required rituals with love, dedication and gaiety would protect brothers from death and that they will enjoy a long life, health and prosperity.

Then, I was requested to give tika to my sisters in the same fashion. After completing the tika ceremony, my sisters offered me special gifts and a fantastic midday feast. In return, I delighted my sisters with gifts and money. After that, there was a lot of merriment on this occasion. We sang and danced and our mood was generally delirious.

And like every Bhai Tika, the day came to an end with feelings of love and renewal of the brother-sister bond. Yamaraj, the God of Death was again warded off with flowers, holy water, and the precious bhai tika until the next year. And next year it will be done the same…on and on through the cycles of eternity.  As a brother, I’d keep providing my sisters protection, care and support. 


  1. proud to be a brother eh? :)wel m xpecting shelrotis from you :) :P

  2. I have heard and known about this Bhai-tika and always wondered about the reasons behind it and the funny part is I have never asked my friends who celebrates this occasion.

    The narration was very clear. I am glad, I now know the significant lying underneath this celebration. I hope all your evils are not, if you have done so (Haha) and keep on posting such amazing post.