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Bhai Tika 2023 in Nepal

A sweet holiday celebrating siblings' affection

Dates: November 15, 2023

Bhai Tika is a Hindu holiday in Nepal, celebrated during the Tihar (Diwali) festival. On this day, sisters apply "tilaka" ("tika") onto their brothers' foreheads to thank them and ensure that they will have a long and prosperous life. And brothers give gifts to their sisters. According to a legend, on this day Yamraj, the God of Death, visited his sister, Yamuna, and she put tika on his forehead, garland on his neck and cooked special food. At the end of the evening, Yamraj and Yamuna exchanged gifts. And later Yamraj decided that anyone who receives a gift from his sister will never die on that day.

Tika, a typically red dot on the forehead, during the holiday consists of seven colours, each of which has a symbolic meaning. After applying tika, sisters perform puja, a traditional ritual; circling brothers and putting oil on the floor and brother's hair for good luck and purification of the spirit following Tantric rituals. Sisters give brothers Sagun, sweets, and a sacred cotton thread of Tantric importance. Brothers also present their gifts.

Bhai Tika is the day when sisters create garlands for their brothers called Makhamali (Gomphrena globosa). Makhamali flower doesn't wilt for a long time, symbolizing the sister's wish for her brother to have a long life. Dubo grass and Godavari (chrysanthemum) are also used during Bhai Tika.

Bhai Tika is a great time to be in Kathmandu city. Being present at a domestic celebration is the best way to experience local traditions.

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