In India, the festival that reinforces the bond between a brother and sister is Raksha Bandhan. The name Raksha Bandhan means “the bond of protection”. This ancient Hindu festival is also known as Rakhi Purnima. It is celebrated on the full moon of the Hindu month ‘Shravana’.
It is a Hindu Festival which celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters. The festival is also popularly observed to celebrate any brother-sister relationship between boys and girls, between men and women who are neither relatives nor biologically related.
The festival is celebrated by many Non-Hindu communities as well in India, as a secular festival.
Raksha Bandhan as a religious festival focuses on performing an Aarti and saying the prayers prior to tying Raakhi / Sacred Thread. The prayers draw inspirations from the Hindu Scriptures. The other religious feature is the application of the Tilak on the forehead of the person wearing the Raakhi.
Raksha Bandhan in Indian Classical Language Sanskrit literally means “The Knot of Protection”. The word Raksha means protection, while Bandhan is the word for knot. It is an ancient Hindu Festival that ritually celebrates the love and duty between brothers and their sisters. The sister performs a Raakhi ceremony, then prays to express her love and her good wishes for the well being of her brother. In return, the brother ritually pledges to protect and take care of his sister under all circumstances. Raksha Bandhan is one of the several occasions in which family ties are affirmed in India. The other occasions are Karva Chauth, Bhaai Dooj etc.
The festival is also an occasion to celebrate brother-sister like family ties between cousins or distant family members, and sometimes even between biologically unrelated men and women. To many, the festival transcends biological family, brings together men and women across various religions, diverse ethnic groups and ritually emphasizes harmony and immense love. It is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Śrāvaṇa, and typically falls in the month of August every year.
Days or weeks before Raksha Bandhan, women folks shop for Raakhi, the ceremonial thread to tie around their brother’s wrist. Some women make their own Raakhi. A Raakhi may be a simple thread, woven and colourful, or a it may be an intricate thread with beautiful amulets and complex decorations on top of it. Sometimes, a Raakhi may even be a fancy wrist watch or men’s wrist accessory in the form of bracelet or jewelery. Raakhi in the form of a simple colourful woven thread is most common. Typically the brother(s) too shop for gifts for their sisters, ahead of Raksha Bandhan. The gift from the brother can be a simple thoughtful token of love or may be more elaborate and grand.
Once the Rakhi has been tied, the sister says a prayer for the well being, good health, prosperity and happiness of her brother. This ritual involves an Aarti, where a tray with lighted lamp is ritually rotated around the brother’s face, along with the prayer and well wishes.
Spread India's Glorious Cultural & Spiritual Heritage
By Mala Chandrashekhar
Though academically trained in modern Western Sciences, Blogger Mala Chandrashekhar is a crazy maniac of India's ageless, timeless ethnic arts, crafts & textiles. The rich & glorious cultural & spiritual heritage of India is a subject extremely dear to her heart, and the whole of this Blog has been dedicated to spreading the immortal glories of ancient India worldwide, to every nook & corner of the globe, through these simple Blog-posts. Any constructive criticisms & suggestions in this regard for improvement of the Blog 'MOST WELCOME'. Also, High-Quality Guest Blog-posts 'MOST WELCOME". LinkedIn Profile : https://in.linkedin.com/in/mala-chandrashekhar-04095917a