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Bhratridvitiya


Bhratridvitiya a folk ritual, also called Yama Dvitiya, observed in Hindu families. According to tradition, Yamuna, the sister of Yama, Lord of Death, felicitated her brother on the second day of the new moon in the month of Kartika (October-November), bestowing immortality on him. Like Yamuna, Hindu women observe this ritual to pray for their brothers' well-being as well as to celebrate the brother-sister relationship. On this occasion, in common with other Hindu vratas and rituals, women observe a ritual fast.

The ritual is also known as Rakhibandhan, because women tie rakhi or coloured threads round their brothers' wrists, as well as Bhaifonta, because women apply dots (fonta) with sandalwood paste on their brothers' foreheads. While applying the paste, women chant verses saying that they are making their brothers immortal. Offerings of food and gifts are also made by a woman to her brother. The brother is expected to reciprocate.

In 1905, in order to protest the Partition of Bengal Act, rabindranath tagore extended Rakhibandhan to symbolise communal brotherhood with people tying yellow threads round each other's wrists in a gesture of friendship. ramendrasundar trivedi wrote Bangalaksmir Bratakatha to inspire housewives in this regard. [Anjalika Mukhopadhyay]