Raksha Bandhan/Rakhi Festival
Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is a sacred thread (the bond of protection) embellished with sister’s love and affection for her brother. On the day of Raksha Bandhan sisters performing arti and also praying for their long life tie Rakhi or decorative thread, on their brother’s wrist and express their love for him. Rakhi signifies her asking of her brother for his protection and love for the sister. The brother in turn, accepts the rakhi, confirms his love and affection for his sister and shows this with gifts and money.
It is a family event where all members of family, dressed in finery, gather and celebrate. The tying of rakhi is followed by a family feast,In Indian tradition the frail thread of Rakhi is considered stronger than iron chains as it binds brothers and sisters in an inseparable bond of love and trust.
When is Raksha Bandhan?
Raksha Bandhan festival is celebrated on the full moon of the month of Shraavan.
History of Raksha Bandhan.
Indian history is replete with women asking for protection, through rakhi, from men who were neither their brothers, nor Hindus themselves. Rani Karnavati of Chittor sent a rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun when she was threatened by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Humayun abandoned an ongoing military campaign to ride to her rescue.
The practice of tying thread was prevalent among the Rajputs and our history is full of instances related to the significance of this tradition. At the time of war when the brave Rajput soldiers prepared to go to the battlefield, the women folk followed the ritual of tying a thread around their wrist after applying a dash of vermilion powder on their forehead.
This was considered a sign of good omen and the ladies believed that it would protect their men from the enemy’s blow and bring them victory. Today children and women all around the country filling the soldiers with the zest to protect them against the dangers of the enemy tie Rakhi on the wrists of soldiers.
The Rakhi Ceremony:
Rakhi or raksha Bandhan Festival is celebrated both in India and different parts of world with fervour and enthusiasm. The preparation of Rakhi begin well in advance. The markets get packed with colorful designer rakhis, mouth watering sweets, garments and much more to attract people. On the festive day everyone gets ready very early to celebrate the occasion.
As per the traditions, the sister on this day prepares the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal and rakhis, then she perform the aarti of their brothers and put ‘tika’ and ‘chawal’ on their forehead, praying for their well being. Sisters tie a Rakhi thread on the wrist of brother and brother’s pledges to take care of her, in any condition.
The family reunion itself is the reason for celebration. On this festive occasion tasty dishes are prepared, sweets, gifts are exchanged, sing and dance and what not. Any Indian festival is incomplete without this.
For those siblings who for distances are not able to meet, it is a day for remembering the bygone time when the day was celebrated together. Emotions are expressed through e mails, e cards, rakhi greeting cards, and rakhis through internet or mail. Nothing on this day can stop the overflowing emotions
Significance of rakhi:
Rakhi holds immense significance in Indian cultural. Rakhi is also a celebration of such relationship between sisters and brothers, it was not always so. There have been examples in history where in rakhi has 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. The custom of celebrating Rakhi started in Vedic times and even today brothers and sisters consider it must to celebrate the occasion in traditional manner. When brothers are away sisters send Rakhi to them and express their love. Accepting the Rakhi with grace brothers send Return gifts to their sister. This loving gesture goes a long way in strengthening brother sister relationship and building stronger family ties.
The importance of Raksha Bandhan is same as Diwali festival in India. Rakhi also signifies the peaceful co-existence of every individual promotes the feeling of unity and encourages the harmonious social life. Congregations like Rakhi Utsavs, popularized by Rabindranath Tagore, promote the feeling of unity and a commitment to all members of society to protect each other and encourage a harmonious Social life.