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'Bhai phonta' observed in Bengal with sweets, gifts

By Ians English

Kolkata, Nov 13: Renewing bonds of sibling love, sisters applied 'teeka' or 'phonta' on their brothers' foreheads as West Bengal celebrated 'bhai phonta' on Friday amid fervour and exchange of gifts.

Dressed in ethnic wear, sisters prayed for the long life of their brothers and offered a variety of traditional sweets such as 'sandesh' as they dotted their foreheads with sandalwood paste, vermillion and rice grains.

Bhai Dooj

Observed on the last day of the five-day-long Diwali, 'bhai dooj' is known as 'bhai phonta' in Bengal.

Celebrities took time out from their busy schedule to indulge in the festive atmosphere complete with food fiestas and cultural programmes.

National Award-winning actor Prosenjit Chatterjee let sister Pallavi lovingly daub his forehead in the popular ritual and opted for savoury snacks instead of sweets.

Sugar-free sweets and low-fat desserts done up exclusively for the day were in demand.

Embracing technology, sisters staying in other parts of the country and abroad, wished brothers via WhatsApp messages and special online greetings.

In reciprocation, bouquets, cakes and chocolates purchased online by brothers were delivered to sisters as surprise gifts.

Toddlers in their own animated style, decked up in specially crafted dhoti, salwars and saris to celebrated 'bhai phonta' and enjoyed their day-off from kindergarten.

Making the day more inclusive, a section of society made sex workers of Sonagachi a part of the festival.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also greeted people on social media.

"Greetings on the occasion of Bhai Dooj to all my brothers and sisters," she said on Twitter.


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