On the full moon day in the month of Shravana , Raksha Bandhan (the bond of protection) the festival which celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters is celebrated.
The festival is marked by sisters tying the Rakhi , or holy thread , on their brothers’ wrists with a prayer for his prosperity and happiness. The brother in turn gives her gifts and vows to protect her always. It is one of the several occasions in which family ties are affirmed. The festival is also an occasion to celebrate brother-sister like ties between cousins, distant family members and even between biologically unrelated friends. To many, the festival transcends biological family, brings together people across religions, diverse ethnic groups and ritually emphasizes harmony and love.
In the medieval times, rakhi meant a call for help. The Rajput kingdoms were being attacked by the Muslim rulers. The Royal ladies solicited help from the fellow Rajput rulers sending them Rakhi. The Rajputs considered it their responsibility to respond to the request and help them.
Tradition & Rituals
Image Courtesy: India Desh
ys or weeks before Raksha Bandhan, sisters shop for rakhi, the ceremonial thread to tie around her brother's (or brother-like friend's) wrist. Some sisters add a personal touch by designing their own rakhi. A rakhi may be a simple thread, woven and colorful, or may be intricate with amulets and decorations. The brother also shops for special gifts for his sister. Sisters prepare the "pooja thali" with diyas, roli, chawal and rakhis. The sisters tie a sacred thread of love to their brothers amongst chanting of mantras, put roli and rice on their forehead and pray for their well being. The brother in turn assures his protection to her and gives her a token gift.For those who are unable to visit one another, rakhi cards, e-rakhis and rakhis through mails help in sharing of their love and to keep the bond growing.
Regionwise Celebrations in india
Rakhi is celebrated in different parts of India in different ways but the significance remains the same.
Rakhi in India (West): In the Western Region, the festival is known as Nariyal Purnima and as a ritual coconuts are thrown into the sea on this day. The festival marks the beginning of the fishing season.
Rakhi in India (South): In South India, this festival is called Avani Avittam. It is an important day for the Brahmins where they first take a holy bath and then change their holy thread (Janeyu) chanting the mantras. They take a vow to perform their duties as prescribed in the holy books and adopt a good conduct and dignity.
Rakhi in India (North): In North India, Rakhi Purnima is also called Kajri Purnima or Kajri Navami, when wheat or barley is sown. Goddess Bhagwati is worshiped and farmers seek her blessings for a good crop.
Rakhi in India (East): The great Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore initiated the 'Rakhi Utsava' (Rakhi tying ceremony) in Shanti Niketan to maintain universal brotherhood long back in 1905 at the time of Bengal Partition. But the custom is continued till date by the students of the Shanti-Niketan.