Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Bhai- Phonta (Brother's Day)


Come late autumn

Golden heart of the paddy field

Sways in joy

Has that moment arrived

When the beloved brothers

Sitting in a row


Reverently receive

The sandal paste mark

On their forehead

By the sisters’ little fingers

Of the left hand?

Chanting of the old rhyme

Of Yama and Yamuna myth*

Makes a stronger bond

Prayers of safety, success and long life

Woven into Mother Earth’s

Paddy grains and grass shoots

Are showered on their crowns

Sisters’ blessing they are

Among wisps of fragrant smoke

From the incense sticks

Blowing of conch shells

Brass oil-lamp holds

The flame of faith

Among siblings, cousins

Sisters hand them the special dishes

To sweeten their mouths

Gifts of love are exchanged

Young ones touch the elders’ feet

Mothers melt in the warmth of love

Shared by their sons and daughters

The whole day is a celebration of love



*According to Rig Veda, Yama and Yamuna were twins (brother and sister) born to Surya (Sun god). In their earthly incarnations, Yamuna once longed to see her brother and invited Yama to her house. When Yama, the god of death visited his sister, his sister prayed for his well being. The other legends regarding the origin connect Vishnu, Krishna and Mahavira.
However, according to folklorist and social historians due to various societal changes with the advent of agriculture, the sisters began to pray for their brothers’ safety, well being, and success. The bhai phonta festival is rooted in that social practice: Wikipedia


Posted for dVerse Poetics: Oh Brother!


  1. This seems like a very special time and rich tradition. I had never heard of it and I love the idea of a ceremony where sisters pray for their brothers!

  2. Just so beautiful. The composition, yes, but also the theme - I have so much admiration for India, and yet again, for Indian women.

  3. This is a very sweet ritual.. how well you write about it too Sumana.. and accepting this gift also creates a special bond.. thank you so much for sharing.

  4. Very interesting tradition, Sumana. I like such traditions that connect the past with the future and also connect people in love and caring.

  5. This is a beautiful poem about a beautiful tradition. I am sure this is one that strengthens the relations between siblings. "The whole day is a celebration of love" - a tradition worth preserving.

  6. What a lovely day of celebration ~ I love the idea of giving a brother's blessings ~

    Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your tradition Sumana ~ Have a great week~

  7. Lovely - as a brother to three sisters, I can tell you how much we love them.

  8. This is so full of love. The poem so tenderly tells of the tradition. Is there also a similar tradition where the brothers reverse for their sisters? This tradition, which is new to my knowing, has me wondering. Tradition, love, blessings....just beautiful.

  9. I am glad for reading this ~

  10. You made me smile - and I am glad you picked the theme to write about brotherhood, telling the world about our tradition.

  11. I do love the way that you, so often, edify, while engaging and delighting your readers, Sumana.

  12. That celebration of love sounds like a wonderful tradition!


Thank you for stopping by and sharing your valuable thoughts.........