Today marks the culmination of the five-day-long Tihar festival in Nepal, with the celebration of Bhai Tika taking center stage across the nation.
Bhai Tika, the final day of Tihar, is a special occasion where sisters express their heartfelt wishes for the well-being, prosperity, and longevity of their brothers by applying colorful tika on their foreheads. In return, brothers reciprocate the sentiment by presenting thoughtful gifts and conveying their best wishes.
The ritual involves a unique setup where brothers are seated at a specially designated spot, surrounded by a trail of mustard oil meticulously drawn by their sisters. They are also adorned with garlands crafted from a variety of flowers, including marigolds and globe amaranth (makhamali).
In a gesture of reciprocity, brothers also apply tika to their sisters. The exchange of goodwill extends to delightful treats, with sisters offering a special assortment of sweets, walnuts, and sel roti to their brothers.
This year, the National Calendar Determination Committee has specified that the auspicious hour for offering tika is at 10:51 AM. However, the committee has emphasized that tika can be exchanged throughout the day, allowing for flexibility in the celebration.
The cultural and mythological significance of Bhai Tika lies in the belief that sisters receive a divine boon from Yama, the god of death, ensuring the immortality of their brothers until the mustard oil dries up and the garland of dubo and makhamali withers.
It’s worth noting that individuals without biological siblings partake in the festivities by receiving tika from those they consider as their brothers and sisters.
As a tradition, the Balgopaleshwor Temple in Ranipokhari, Kathmandu, opens its doors on this auspicious day, continuing the annual observance of this significant cultural celebration.