CREDOS: Bhai Tika

Today is Bhai Tika, which is the last day of Tihar celebrations in Nepal. It is a specially important day and is also known as Bhai Tihar. On this brother-and-sister day, sisters pray to Yamraj for their brother’s long life and prosperity. During the royal regime, the royal astrologer used to fix the appropriate time to give or receive the tika through the national radio a day before, and the entire nation followed it.

The residents of the Kathmandu Valley who do not have sisters go to the temple situated in the middle of Rani Pokhari to offer prayers to Lord Gopala on this day. And this temple is open only once in a year, on Bhai Tika. Legend holds that when the Kirat king fell ill, Yama sent messages in the form of dogs and crows. At this time, the king Bali Hang’s sister guarded him by sending messages that he could take her brother only after fulfilling certain conditions; that the God of Death should wait till Panchami, i.e until the day of Bhai Tika. She also put forth conditions that Yama should not take Bali Hang until the tika, which she had smeared on his forehead, fades away, the water sprinkled dries and the makhmali (a kind of flower) wilts.

A Mandap is made in the name of her brothers, then the sisters put Pancha Rangi Tika (five-coloured tika) — yellow, green, red, blue and white color, offer her brothers Shagun (gift of good omen), fruit and sweets; and in return, the brothers give their sisters gifts or money. The main theme of Bhai Tika is that the sisters pray to Yama for their brothers’ long life.