Nepal celebrates sibling festival Bhai Tika amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli receiving tika from his sisters in Nepal on Monday.
Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli receiving tika from his sisters in Nepal on Monday.

Kathmandu [Nepal], November 16 (ANI): Nepal on Monday celebrated the sibling festival of Bhai Tika with less fanfare and gaiety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is increasing the toll in the Himalayan Nation.

On the occasion of Bhai Tika, sisters throughout the nation offered tika to their brothers wishing them happiness, long life and prosperity. Brothers, in return pledge to protect their sisters from all kinds of adversities.

"On the occasion of Bhai Tika only the closest and the nearest ones celebrated it this year. Today we received tika from our sisters and prayed for their happiness, prosperities and good health on the occasion of Dipawali," Bishnu Prasad Panta, one of the denizen in Kathmandu told ANI after the celebration.

The Nepal Calendar Determination Committee earlier had fixed time of 11:37 AM (Local Time) as most auspicious time to receive and offer tika. Festival of Bhai Tika, which is one of five days of Tihar or Deepawali or Diwali, places brothers and sisters on centre furbishing and improving relations between brother and sister.

On the day of Bhai Tika, brothers are seated at a specially anointed place, around which a trail of mustard oil and sacred water is drawn, which is meant to be the line which Yama - Lord of Death -- is believed would not be able to cross.

After securing brothers from Yama, sisters then offer brothers garlands of Marigold, Dubo and Makhamali along with seven coloured Tika on the foreheads, which has its own significance. Along with brothers, sisters are treated with varieties of sweets, walnut, spices, and "Selroti" oil-cooked bread made of rice flour.

In return, brothers also offer sisters with Tika, wishes of happiness and good luck and also offer them presents. The occasion commemorates a legendary event, in which a sister has won a boon from "Yama", the 'Deity of Death' where Yama would not take her brother until the mustard oil dries up and the garland fades.

Following the tradition, which is deep-rooted in Nepali society, those who do not have their own brothers and sisters receive Tika from others whom they regard as brothers and sisters.

This year, brothers who do not have sisters thronged the Balgopaleshwor Temple in the middle of Rani Pokhari or the Queen's Pond and received tika there.

"Rani Pokhari is famous because people who don't have their own brothers or sisters visit here to receive and offer Tika. Through this, the love between brothers and sisters are shared, which is the main reason for the visit to Rani Pokhari on this day," Umesh Neupane, one of the denizens of Kathmandu who thronged Rani Pokhari on Monday told ANI.

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli also received Tika on the occasion from his sisters and offered Tika to his sibling on the occasion, Prime Minister's Secretariat confirmed on Monday afternoon.

Bhai Tika is generally marked on the second lunar day of Shukla Paksha, which is believed to further strengthen the bond between brothers and sisters. This year, the festival has been marred due to COVID-19 pandemic. (ANI)