Bhai Dooj is a public holiday in five Indian states on the day after New Year’s Day on the Hindu lunar calendar. On the Gregorian Calendar, the holiday falls in either October or November. Bhai Dooj goes by different names in different regions, and in northern India, it is integrated into the Diwali festival.
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Bhai Dooj is a time for honouring the brother-sister relationship. Sisters and brothers exchanges gifts, brothers often giving sisters small sums of cash, and sisters plant a red “tika” spot on their brothers’ heads.
Sisters invite their brothers to a feast on this day, where special festive dishes like “basundi poori” are served. Basundi is a sweet, extra-thick milk porridge, and “poori” indicates that fruits, nutmeg, and cardamon are added to it. Special ceremonies take place wherein brothers swear to protect their sisters and sisters pray for a happy life for their brothers.
Family reunions beyond just brothers and sisters also take place on this day. And major public ceremonies are held in many parts of India, those in West Bengal be especially large and colourful.