'Bhaitika' being marked today; 11:55am auspicious hour

KATHMANDU: Bhaitika — the last day of the five-day Tihar festival — is being marked today. It is the day when sisters put tika on the forehead of their brothers, wishing for their prosperity and long life.

The auspicious hour for offering the tika is 11:55 am this year. However, it can be held until sunset, according to Chairman of National Calendar Determination Committee Prof Dr Ramchandra Gautam, reported Rastriya Samachar Samiti.

The celebration of Bhaitika is associated with different interesting elements with symbolic meanings. Varieties of items are required to complete the ritual and each item has religious and cultural significance, adding meaning to the festive celebration.

On this day, brothers are seated at a special place around which a trail of mustard oil is drawn. The sisters then offer tika and garlands made of Dubo (a type of grass) and makhamali (globe amaranth) flower to their brothers.

After placing colourful tika on the foreheads of their brothers, sisters offer them a treat consisting varieties of sweets, walnut, spices and sel roti, a traditional Nepali food made from rice flour, in the shape of a ring.

Brothers also put tika on their sisters' forehead in return, wish them happiness and good luck, and give them presents.

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 is dried up and the garland of 'Dubo' and 'Makhamali' faded.

It is believed that putting the garlands of makhamali and dubo on brothers during Tihar ensures their prosperity and long life (like the long life of flower and grass). These garlands also represent the bonding between brothers and sisters.