The five-day-long festival of Diwali ends with the celebration of Bhai-Dooj.
This final day of Diwali cherishes the affectionate relationship between brothers and sisters. A sister prays for her brother’s longevity and in return the brother promises to protect her for life.
In Punjab, the festival is referred to as Tikka named for the mark of vermilion that a sister applies to her brother’s forehead to symbolize her affection for him. Legend tells us that this tradition was started by Yami (the sister of Yama, the Lord of Death) who prayed for her brother’s well being with the auspicious vermilion mark on his forehead. So a brother who receives a tikka from his sister will escape an untimely death.
Like many other Hindu festivals, Bhai Dooj is about family ties and social attachments. It is a time when a married sister reunites with her own family.