Festivals of India in the month of November
Friends, I have just finished the celebration of Vai phonta. It is a big event for brothers and sisters. I have enjoyed a lots with my brothers. Let me tell you some words about this event.
Bhai (brother) Phonta (small circle mark) is a Bengali Hindu festival; usually celebrated two days after the Kali Puja, where the sisters mark the foreheads of their brothers with sandalwood paste and pray for their safety, well being and success. The festival is similar to Bhai Dhooj in northern India, Bhai Tika in Nepal and other parts of eastern India and Bhau Beej in western India.
According to the Bengali Hindu lunar calendar, the festival is celebrated on the second day of the Shukla paksha of the month of Kartik in late autumn. Sometimes it is also celebrated on the first day of the Shukla paksha.
|Arrangements of Vai-Phonta|
|The sister is putting a mark on her brother forehead|
The sister put a mark of sandalwood paste mixed with curd on her brother forehead with her left hand ring finger thrice, while reciting a traditional rhyme. The rhyme has different variations in different family traditions. After, that the sister puts paddy grains and durba i.e. tender shoots of grass in her brother’s head. During this time, conch shells are blown and the women ululate. After that the sister blesses her brother if she is elder to him. Then the sister hands her brother a dish of traditional Bengali sweets and gifts. The brother in turn showers his sister with gifts.
|Luchi and Alur dam|
Typical bhai phonta breakfasts consist of luchi (a type of puffy fried bread) and alu(potato)-r dam(hot red curry) and an assortment of traditional sweets. The bhai phonta lunch is usually an elaborate affair with delicacies like hilsa, pabda, chicken or mutton. *Payes is a special dish for this event. In Bengal, every year sweetmeat makers come up with new offerings alongside traditional ones.
Bhai phota holds a very important place in Bengali Hindu culture. Sisters usually consider it to be the most important event of the year. In 2009, Railway minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee skipped a cabinet meeting to celebrate the festival along with her family members.
*Payes: It is a special sweet dish; made by rice, suger, milk and dry foods.