Rakhi Celebrations in India

Rakhi celebrations in India

Rakhi celebrations in India

Raksha Bandhan, popularly known as ‘Rakhi’ is one of the holiest Indian festival that observes the sacred brother-sister relationship. The festival is marked by sister tying a Rakhi (a sacred thread) to her brother’s wrist, reciting a prayer for his prosperity. The brother in return, gives her a gift as a token of love and promises to protect his sister under all circumstances.

The festival of Rakhi is observed on a full moon day, known as Purnima, in the Hindu month of Shravana, which falls in Gregorian month of August. Rakshan Bandhan is celebrated with fervor and zeal across the country. Families travel long distances to get together and celebrate the pious bond.

Despite being a Hindu festival, Rakhi is celebrated across religions and diverse ethnic groups. The love between a brother-sister transcends all religions.

What Does Raksha Bandhan Literally Mean
Raksha Bandhan is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “a tie or knot of protection”. Individually, Raksha means ‘protection’ while bandhan stands for ‘bond’.

It ritually celebrates the love and duty between brothers and their sisters. The brother-sister may or may not be biologically related; it is the emotions between a man and woman that are celebrated.

Historical Significance of Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan has been celebrated for centuries in India, making it hard to trace its pioneers. There are a lot of citations that convey its beginning. The two most convincing are,

Once Lord Krishna cut his hand while he was flying a kite. At that moment, Draupadi tore a piece of cloth from her saree and tied it to Lord Krishna’s bleeding hand. Lord Krishna was stunned by her compasion and in return promised that he will protect Draupadi forever. It is not unknown that Lord Krishna saved Draupadi during cheer-haran.

In another historical tale, King Porus did not kill Alexander the Great because Alexander’s wife had sent him a rakhi.

The Rakhi (tie)
A rakhi simply has to be a thread, generally woven and deep red in color, symbolizing love. Now-a-days, Rakhi’s come in beautiful hues with intricate designs, studded with amulets and decorations. A deeper form of love are handmade rakhis that symbolize the sister’s undying love.

The effort to find the best rakhi, scouring through markets weeks before ‘The-Day’ is in itself a small festival.

Celebration of Raksha Bandhan
Rakhi is a morning festival, observed in the pious hours specifically designated for performing the festival. The ritual begins with an aarti, where a tray with lighted lamp (diya in thali) is ritually rotated around the brother’s face. The sister and brother sit facing each other when the sister ties the rakhi on her brother’s wrist. She recites a prayer for his happiness and well being. She then applies tilak or tikka (vermilion with rice grains) on the forehead of her brother. The brother pledges to protect her and take care of his sister in every situation. Both of them feed each other a bite of a sweet delicacy with their hand. Then the brother presents a gift to his sister. Here the ritual is completed.

Amazing Facts about Raksha Bandhan
– Raksha Bandhan is known by different names across Indian states such as “Rakhi Purnima”, “Rakhi”, “Rakhri”
– Every year on Raksha Bandhan, little school girls tie a Rakhi to the President of India at Rashtrapathi Bhavan (The President’s Residence).
– The festival is observed in other countries too by Indiana and the natives, including Mauritius, Pakistan, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Sri Lanka, UAE and majorly in Nepal.
– It is celebrated by people belonging to all religions in India, the Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Christians.
– Hridaya, an NGO started celebrating Raksha Bandhan in a unique way where men tie rakhis on women’s wrist seeking protection from the ‘misuse’ of section 498A of IPC.
– The north Indian state of Haryana offers free bus service to women, to respect and encourge them to travel to their brothers and celebrate Rakhi.
– Every year, Indian women travel to border areas and tie Rakhi to our soldiers and policemen, who stand firm and away from their sisters to protect their nation even on Rakhi-Day.
– Usually, brothers wear the rakhi for the entire day, or even for a year as a sweet reminder of their sister’s love.

Celebrate the undying bond of affection on 7th August this year!

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