To the readers,
(A globular mark of sandal-paste put on the brother’s forehead by the sister’s little finger)
This word Vaifonta in standard Bengali is called Bhatridwitiya; a similar word in English language is not available at all. Here vai means brother and fonta means drop or blob in general, so this can be said as brother’s blob or drop (a globular mark of sandal-paste put on the brother’s forehead by the sister’s little finger) and this brother’s blob program is a family program or a kind of family festival that all Bengali common folks celebrate it after the Kali puja. This vaifonta program is so nice and sweetest ritual that had been maintained century after century by the sisters and brothers and it’s a part of Bengali culture only, no other races have this similar custom to keep up this ritual. Actually this home program is linked to the relationship between brother and sister, a brotherhood ness or sisterhood ness. This can be said as a ‘get-together’ among the family members but that shall never identify the word ‘get-together’ as the same meaning to vaifonta ritual as usual in respect of western culture. This is the Bengali Hindu community’s own style of ‘get-together’.
In the day of vaifonta ritual, sisters and brothers gather in home to celebrate the simple mangolik (good-for-all) ritual and dinner. Before a lighted pradeep (candle) and playing sounds of shongkho three times (blowing air through the hole of a shell which is put on the lip of the mouth), sister puts a globular mark of sandal-paste (a drop of chandanbata; a piece of sandal wood that is rubbed on a grainy stone plate with little water to make a creamy solution) on brother’s forehead by her little finger, then she keeps dhan-dubbo upon the head and speaks a rhyme in low volume that Bengali people knows what needs to be mentioned here:
Vaiyer kapaale dilam fonta
Jomer duaare porlo kanta!
I put a globular mark on my brother’s forehead;
the stings drop down before the Yama’s door!
(Here Yama is the God of death, the real pronunciation in Bengali is Jome).
But in this family program gathering of all members, smiling and jokes, songs and gossiping plus adda (joint), availability of sufficient foods, sweets and especially the gifts offering to each other—the whole day they celebrate and enjoy a nice event in each Bengali community home. Although the program or ritual stands on Hindu norms, it’s seen that the sisters, elder sisters who have no botheration to put the blob on any non-Hindu’s forehead which is a previous settlement to call him vai (brother) or dada (elder brother) who comes from non-Hindu community and vice versa. May be he is not a real family member, a family friend or neighbor, indeed that activity does not allow the importance of any orthodox comments raised by someone or sisters always ignore the differences in context to race, color, religion or communal problems. This is a wonderful non-communal social custom, actually that exists in the root underneath the social structure by passing various kinds of backward mentality conveyed by the folks of the society.
In modern faster life style Vaifonta is also amalgamated into or have become a part of social life likewise the birthday celebration party in hotel, restaurant, and the vaifonta programs have also been arranged there by the parties where everything is available to celebrate the program. Of course it’s true that economically poorer few classes of people are not able to arrange the program in hotel or restaurant. But in all respect, I think, it is slow but steady procedure for foundation of neo-cultural activities that had been formed step by step during many decades and it requires not only an intimate care but also needs nourishment, if it’s possible, hopefully I believe that a progress and probability may rise in nearest future.
Vaifonta – Vai (Brother) + Fonta (Drop or blob).
Chandanbata— A piece of White Sandal (Shwet Chandan) wood that is rubbed on a grainy stone plate with little water to make a creamy solution.
Kali puja—Kali is another form of Devi Durga and Puja means worship.
Mangolik—This is welfare or to wish for goodness.
Pradeep—A candle which is a tapering container made of clay or bronze that contains mustard oil as fuel and a slick cotton tape that sunk into the oil to be fired on as like as wax candle.
Shongkho—This is a conch shell to be sounded by blowing air through the hole placed on one side of the conch which is put on the lip of the mouth.
Adda— Adda is nearest to the word ‘joint’ but a gathering by folks for gossip or anything.
Dhan-Doobbo—Dhan is Paddy grain and Doobba is a single piece small green grass that generates between two long leaves of grass.
If you want to hear the pronunciation of this rhymes please copy two lines below and go to Google translation, then place it into the box to hear the sound after clicking on audio button. I hope you may hear the sound nearest to Bengali pronunciation though that’s unknown to you!
Bhaiyer kapaale dilam fontaa
jzomer dooarae porlo kanta!