Bhai Dooj Stories : History and myths

Bhai Dooj Stories

Bhai Dooj, a festival celebrated with great fervor in India. It holds deep cultural significance. As a day dedicated to the bond between brothers and sisters. Bhai Dooj is enriched with captivating legends and stories from Hindu mythology. Let’s delve into the mythological background that gives this festival its unique charm.

Yamraj and Yamuna:

One prominent legend associated with Bhai Dooj revolves around the bond between Yamraj, the God of Death, and his sister Yamuna. According to the myth, Yamraj visited his sister Yamuna, who warmly welcomed him with an aarti (traditional worship with lamps) and applied a tilak on his forehead. Touched by her love and hospitality, Yamraj bestowed blessings upon her, ensuring her well-being. This legend is often cited as the inspiration behind the ritual of sisters applying tilak to their brothers on Bhai Dooj.

Lord Krishna and Subhadra:

Another well-known tale is that of Lord Krishna and his sister Subhadra. On this day, after defeating the demon Narakasura, Lord Krishna visited his sister’s house. Subhadra, overjoyed by her brother’s victory, performed aarti and applied a tilak on Krishna’s forehead. This act symbolizes the essence of the Bhai Dooj celebration and the bond between siblings.

Mahabali and Lord Vishnu:

According to another legend, the demon king Mahabali had a deep devotion to Lord Vishnu. Vishnu, pleased with Mahabali’s devotion, granted him a boon allowing him to visit his kingdom once a year. On Bhai Dooj, Mahabali visits his sister, who welcomes him with love and reverence. This legend underlines the theme of familial love and reunion that Bhai Dooj represents.

The Story of Lord Mahavir and Sudarshana:

In Jainism, Bhai Dooj is associated with Lord Mahavir and his brother King Nandivardhan. On this day, after attaining enlightenment, Lord Mahavir received a warm welcome from his brother, who performed an aarti and applied a tilak on his forehead. This event is commemorated during the Bhai Dooj celebration in Jain communities.


Bhai Dooj, with its rich tapestry of legends, reflects the profound significance of sibling bonds in Hindu culture. These mythological stories not only add a layer of depth to the festival but also emphasize the values of love, respect, and familial ties. As families come together to celebrate Bhai Dooj, they partake in rituals that connect them to the timeless tales of gods and goddesses, strengthening the enduring spirit of sibling relationships.

Also read: Origins of Diwali festival- Know in depth

Sumann Senguptaa

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