Bengal celebrates 'Bhai Phonta' amid rains
Kolkata: Sisters prayed for their brothers' long lives as West Bengal celebrated the "Bhai Phonta" (brother's day) festival of sibling love on Saturday with fervour, notwithstanding inclement weather.
Attired in sarees, sisters applied "teeka" or "phonta" on their brothers' foreheads, offered them traditional sweets and other snacks and handed out gifts.
Relishing the occasion, brothers, with their foreheads covered with sandalwood paste, vermillion and rice grains, gave return gifts to their sisters.
Besides the traditional sweets made of cottage cheese like sandesh and rosogolla, fusion sweets and chocolate hampers were in demand, as queues were seen outside many renowned confectionaries.
But the traditional Bengali snack called "khaja" (sugar syrup-gazed snack) continued to be an essential item on the menu.
The early morning ritual was followed by sumptuous lunch and dinner, where lip-smacking fish preparations and chicken and mutton dishes were the chief attractions.
Celebrities took time out from their busy schedule to indulge in the festive atmosphere complete with food fiestas and cultural programmes.
Toddlers decked up in specially crafted dhotis, salwars and sarees to celebrate Bhai Phonta and enjoyed their day-off from kindergarten.
However, nagging rainfall through Saturday after the heavy showers on Friday in Kolkata and the rest of south Bengal dampened the spirits as sisters complained they could not make satisfactory preparations due to the downpour that left many areas waterlogged.