Decoding Bhai Tika symbols


Celebration of Bhai Tika — the last day of the five-day Tihar is associated with different interesting elements with symbolic meanings. It is the day when sisters put tika on the forehead of their brothers, wishing for their prosperity and long life. But a lot of items are required to complete the ritual and each item has religious and cultural significance, adding meaning to the festive celebration.

Makhamali, marigold and dubo

Walnut, almond, pistachio, cardamom, cloves, and more — they are a must during Bhai Tika. These masala items are gifted by sisters to their brothers and vice versa after putting and receiving the tika.

“These items are enriched with nutrition and their consumption is useful for brain’s health. They also give us energy. So, there is the tradition of gifting masala during Tihar,” shares Regmi.

During the time of Laxmi Puja (the third day of Tihar) and Bhai Tika, bimiro (citron fruit) is worshipped by some people. In Newari culture, bhogate (pomelo) is also worshipped.

Bimiro has its own significance in Hindu mythology as per Regmi. “Yamaraj (God of death) and his sister Yami like bimiro. So, this fruit symbolises them and thus, is worshipped. And we also worship the fruit wishing for the strong brother-sister bond and love, as shared by Yamaraj-Yami,” explains Regmi.

And Dr Kayastha adds, “Bhogate and bimiro, both are citrus fruits and are beneficial to our health.”