Bhai Dooj, the festival celebrating the sacred bond between a brother and sister is being celebrated today. The day is marked by sisters performing Tika ceremony and brothers giving them gifts in return. In addition to this, sisters also perform puja and pray for the long life of their brothers. As per legend, on this day God of death Yamraj visited his sister Yami who welcomed him with aarti, tilak and sweets. In return, Yamraj gave her a gift. Yamraj also declared that any brother receiving aarti and tilak by his sister on this day should not be frightened of death and yamlok. For this reason, the day is also called Yama Dwitya.

According to another legend, after killing the demon Narkasur, Krishna went to his sister Subhadra who welcomed him with aarti, tilak, sweets and flowers. The festival marks the last day of the 5-day long Diwali festival. Bhai Tika is celebrated in various states like West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, etc. The auspicious day is also known as Bhai Phota or Bhau Bheej and is celebrated on the second day after the new moon or Shukla Paksha in the Hindu lunar month of Kartik. This year the festival is falling on October 21, 2017. 

There is another story connecting Bhai Dooj with founder of Jainism Mahavir. It is believed that after Mahavira cut off ties with his family, his brother King Nandivardhan started to miss him and was provided comfort by sister Sudarshana. For this reason, many attribute it to be origin of the auspicious day. On the day of Bhai Dooj, sisters put vermilion tika on the forehead of their brothers, who give them blessings and gifts in return. 

Apart from gifts such as jewellery, cosmetics or fashion accessories brothers also treat their sisters by gifting them unique presents such as a day out in a luxurious spa or resort or movie tickets or even a dine-out option. Some sisters who are bitten by the wanderlust bug are treated by their brothers on Bhai Dooj who gift them a holiday to an exotic locale or to an offbeat destination. 

Here are the timings for Bhai Dooj 2017 (as per DrikPanchang.com)

In Delhi: 13:12 to 15:27 ( 1:12 PM – 3:27 PM)
In Mumbai: 13:31 to 15:49 ( 1:31 PM – 3:49 PM)
In Kolkata: 12:29 to 14:46 (12:29 PM – 2:46 PM)
Dwitiya Tithi Begins: 01:37 on 21st October 2017
Dwitiya Tithi Ends: 03:00 on 22nd October 2017