Tihar festival ends with Bhai Tika celebrated in Nepal

KATHMANDU: Hindus observed the Bhaitika ritual– the last day of the five-day Tihar festival–wherein sisters offer ‘tika’ to their brothers wishing them happiness, long life and prosperity, on Friday.

The auspicious hour for offering the tika was at 11:55 a.m. today and the National Calendar Determination Committee said the tika can be offered in the noon and afternoon also.

On this day of the Tihar festival, also known as Yamapanchak, brothers who have sisters are seated at a specially anointed place around which a trail of mustard oil is drawn. The sisters then offer the brothers Tika and garlands of ‘Dubo’ and ‘Makhamali’.

The tika is a combination of seven colours of the rainbow which sisters put on the forehead of their brothers on the occasion of the Bhaitika festival.

Meanwhile, Anjali Maskey, better known as sister Anjali, today offered tika to over 200 people devoid of their own sisters on the occasion of the Bhaitika festival at Basantapur in the capital.

She has been organizing mass Bhaitika offering ceremony at Basantapur since 13 years. Men who do not have sisters of their own and who cannot receive tika from their sisters due to various circumstances attend this ceremony and receive tika from Anjali didi every year.

Similarly, men without sisters and women without brothers visited the Yamuneshwar Temple located in the middle of the Ranipokhari pond in Kathmandu today and paid homage to the deity there. The temple is opened only on the day of Bhaitika every year.

A large number of people thronged the temple throughout the day today on the occasion of Bhaitika.

The occasion commemorates a legendary event in which a sister won a boon from “Yama”, the deity of death that her brother would not die until the mustard oil dried up and the garland of ‘Dubo’ and ‘Makhamali’ faded.

After placing colourful Tika on the foreheads of their brothers, sisters offer them a treat consisting varieties of sweets, walnut, spices and ‘Sel’, a special kind of bread cooked in oil. Brothers also offer their sisters Tika in return, wish them happiness and good luck, and give them presents.

The Bhaitika tradition is so strong in Nepali society that even those who have no brothers or sisters of their own receive Tika from others whom they regard as brothers and sisters.

The five-day Tihar festival concludes with the observance of Bhaitika.

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