On this special day,
I covey my heartfelt wishes to all the SISTERS around the globe. On the special
day, sisters tie a rakhi (sacred thread) on the wrist of their brothers and the
custom shows the love between siblings. Once a girl ties the rakhi on her
brother’s wrist, he has to take a lifelong vow to protect her. Special gifts
will also be exchanged between brothers and sisters.
RAKHI: THE THREAD OF
LOVE
In India, festivals
are the celebration of togetherness, of being one of the families. Raksha
Bandhan is one such festival that is all about affection, fraternity and
sublime sentiments. It is also known as Raksha Bandhan which means a ‘bond of
protection’. This is an occasion to flourish love, care, affection and sacred
feeling of brotherhood.
Not a single festival
in India is complete without the typical Indian festivities, the gatherings,
and celebrations, exchange of sweets and gifts, lots of noise, singing and
dancing. Raksha Bandhan is a regional celebration to celebrate the sacred
relation between brothers and sisters. Primarily, this festival belongs to
north and western region of India but soon the world has started celebrating
this festival with the same verse and spirit. Rakhi has become an integral part
of those customs.
AN INSIGHT OF RAKHI
RITUALS
On the day of Rakhi,
sisters prepare the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal, rakhi thread and
sweets. The ritual begins with a prayer in front of God, and then the sister
ties Rakhi to her brother and wishes for his happiness and well-being. In turn,
the brother acknowledges the love with a promise to stand by his sister through
all the good and bad times.
Sisters tie Rakhi on
the wrist of their brothers amid chanting of mantras, put roli and rice on his
forehead and pray for his well-being. She bestows him with gifts and blessings.
In turn, brothers also wish her a good life and pledges to take care of her. He
gives her a return gift. The gift symbolizes the physical acceptance of her
love, reminder of their togetherness and his pledge. The legends and the
reference in history repeated, the significance of the festival is emphasized.

UNCONDITIONAL BOND OF
LOVE!
Raksha bandhan has
been celebrated in the same way with the same traditions for many years. Only
the means have changed with the changing lifestyle to make the celebration more
elaborate and lively. This day has an inherent power that pulls the siblings
together. The increasing distances evoke the desire to be together even more.
All brothers and sisters try to reach out to each other on this auspicious day.
The joyous meeting, the rare family get-together, that erstwhile feeling of
brotherhood and sisterhood calls for a massive celebration.
For everyone, it is
an opportunity to reunion and celebrates. People also share tasty dishes,
wonderful sweets and exchange gifts. It is a time to share their past
experiences also. For those who are not able to meet each other, rakhi cards
and e-rakhis and rakhis through mails perform the part of communicating the
rakhi messages. Handmade rakhis and self-made rakhi cards are just
representation of the personal feelings of the siblings.

TRADITION AND
CUSTOMS!
Raksha Bandhan is an
occasion to celebrate the sacred bond of love and affection between siblings
with lots of verve. Also known as Raksha Bandhan across the world, this
festival is primarily a north Indian festival that is celebrated all brothers
and sisters to express their deep emotions, love and affection.
On the day of Rakhi
festival, the sister ties Rakhi on the wrist of her brother and both make
prayer to God for the well being of each other. Sisters perform ‘aarti’ and put
tilak on the forehead of her brother. In return, brothers make promise to take
care of his sister under all circumstances. Usually, brothers gift something to
the sister to mark the occasion. The mirth that surrounds the festival is
unsurpassed. Amidst the merriment the rituals are also followed with great
devotion.
PREPARATION OF RAKHI
FESTIVAL!
Generally, the fancy
Rakhis and delicious sweets are prepared long before the Shravana Purnima.
According to the Indian tradition, the family members get ready for the rituals
early in the morning. They take a bath to purify mind and body before starting
any preparations. Sisters prepare the puja thali which consists of roli, tilak,
Rakhi threads, rice grains, aggarbattis (incense sticks), diyas and sweets.
After offering the rituals to the deities of the family, the sister perform
aarti of their brothers and ties Rakhi on their wrist. Then, they put kumkum
powder on the forehead of their brother and offer sweets. All these rituals
take place amid the chanting of the following mantras :
“Suraj shakhan
chhodian, Mooli chhodia beej
Behen ne rakhi bandhi
/ Bhai tu chir jug jee”,
Which means “The sun
radiates its sunlight, the radish spreads its seeds,
I tie the rakhi to
you O brother and wish that may you live long.”
After her prayer for
a long life for her brother, she says that she is tie the ever-protective
Raksha to her brother’s wrist and chants:
“Yena baddho Balee
raajaa daanavendro mahaabalah
tena twaam
anubadhnaami rakshe maa chala maa chala”
This means,” I tie
you the rakhi that was tied to king Bali, the king of Demons,
O Rakhi I pray that
you never falter in protecting your devotee.
In return, brothers
pampers and blesses the sisters and promises to protect her from all the evils
of this world. He also present a token of his love and affection as a Rakhi
gift. The rituals performed on Raksha Bandhan may differ from place to place
but they carry the same aura throughout the globe.

THE MEANING OF RAKSHA
BANDHAN!
Relationships are the
essence of any festivity and it holds true for any Indian festival. Each
occasion brings the family together which calls for a celebration. Raksha
Bandhan is a celebration of one such relation – that of a brother and a sister.
This relationship is nowhere so celebrated as in India. Raksha Bandhan is a
festival which celebrates the bond of affection between brothers and sisters.
It is a day when siblings pray for each others’ well being and wish for each
others’ happiness and goodwill.
The name ‘Raksha
Bandhan’ suggests ‘a bond of protection’. On this auspicious day, brothers make
a promise to their sisters to protect them from all harms and troubles and the
sisters pray to God to protect their brother from all evil. The festival falls
on the Shravan Purnima which comes generally in the month of August. Sisters
tie the silk thread called Rakhi on their brother’s wrist and pray for their
well being and brothers promise to take care of their sisters.

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF
RAKHI!
Raksha Bandhan is now
considered as a day to celebrate the sacred relation of a brother and a sister.
Yet there have been examples in history where in rakhi have just been a raksha
or protection. It could be tied by wife, a daughter or mother. The Rishis tied
rakhi to the people who came seeking their blessings. The sages tied the sacred
thread to themselves to safe guard them from the evil. It is by all means the
‘Papa Todak, Punya Pradayak Parva’ or the day that bestows boons and ends all
sins as it is mentioned in the scriptures.
Previously, Rakhi
festival encompasses the warmth shared between the siblings but now it goes way
beyond it. Some people tie Rakhi to neighbours and close friends signifying a peaceful
co-existence of every individual. Rakhi Utsav was first popularized by
Rabindranath Tagore to promote the feeling of unity and a commitment to all
members of society to protect each other and encourage a harmonious Social
life.
In today’s scenario,
the day has a different perspective. The occasion involves a pledge of
life-time practice of moral, cultural and spiritual values. The values and the
sentiments attached to the rituals of this festival are worth inculcating by
the whole human race, the sentiments of harmony and peaceful coexistence. The
festival of Raksha Bandhan assumes all forms of Raksha or protection, of
righteousness and destroyer of all sin. The ritual of Rakhi tying has become so
important that come what may, brothers and sisters try to visit each other
place on this particular day in order to bring back the oneness of the family,
binding the family together in an emotional bond of love.
RAKHI CELEBRATIONS!
In India, Rakhi
celebrations are about strengthening the bond of love between brothers and
sisters and fostering brotherhood. This festival is not a ritual, custom and
tradition that can change over time but its style of celebration has become
contemporary. Since ages, Raksha Bandhan is being celebrated in the same way.
All the traditions are followed with the same enthusiasm. The gaieties have
only blown up to a larger scale. Rakhi festival is the celebration of the
chaste bond of love amongst the siblings.
Everyone start
preparing for this festival much in advance. About a month before the
commencement of raksha bandhan, you can see fancy and colorful rakhis in every
market. Ladies start shopping for rakhi and rakhi gifts quite early. They shop
for new clothes and beautiful rakhi gifts specially the one that has to be sent
to their brothers staying far. Almost every shop, be it sweet shops, garment
shops, gift shops, or any other shop, all are flooded with attractive rakhi
gifts to attract people.
The celebration of
Rakhi, in India, is well known for its carnival spirit and strengthening the
bond of love between brothers and sisters. In fact, India is globally known for
its colorful festivals and ever-green tradition. Celebrated with different
rituals, family get-together and sweets, Raksha Bandhan is about sentiments,
love and enjoyment. Like any other festival, rakhi has its unique significance.
On the day of Rakhi
festival, the festivity of this auspicious day begins by the day break. After
taking bath early morning, people get ready by wearing new clothes and gather
for worshiping. After invoking the the blessings of the Gods, the sister
performs brother’s arti, puts tika and chawal on his forehead and ties Rakhi
amongst chanting of mantras. Sisters whole heartedly give sweets to their
brothers to eat which in turns add more sweetness in the Raksha Bandhan
celebration and pray for their well being. In return, brothers pamper their
sisters and present beautiful gifts to lure them. They also promise to take
care of her and stand by her side in any circumstances.
After performing all
these rituals, the whole family reunion to enjoy and have fun. Then all of them
share the delicious food, tasty sweets, gifts, music and dance. It is a day to
remember all the memorable time spent together for those who, for any reason,
are far away from their family. Emotions can also be expressed through e-mails,
e-cards, rakhi greeting cards and rakhi through Internet. The overflowing
emotions of siblings cannot be stopped on this day.
Rabindra Nath Tagore
started gathering of people like ‘Rakhi Mahotsavas’ in Shantiniketan to
propogate the feeling of brotherhood among people. He believed that this will
invoke trust and feeling of peaceful coexistence. Raksha Bandhan, for them, is
a way to harmonize the relationship of humanity. The tradition continues as
people started tying rakhis to the neighbor and friends.

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