Raksha Bandhan is around the corner, and the start of August brings with itself the festivities revolving around Raksha Bandhan. With the onset of August, the Rakhi feels set in, and so does the preparations for the same. Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in most parts of India as a festival/ritual which celebrates and cherishes the eternal bond of siblinghood, brothers and sisters alike.
Just like other occasions celebrated across India, Rakhi is yet another festivity, yet another reason, to bring together the entire family. The day marks the commemoration of brotherhood and sisterhood; it involves prayers in favor of one’s brother/sister for their well being and send in good wishes.
Raksha Bandhan, in its literal sense, means the bond of protection; more of a promise that a brother and a sister make to each other for being there in both bad and good times, for protecting each other against all odds, and to bring good wishes for both.
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the day of ‘Shravan Purnima’ which is considered as an auspicious day in Hindu calendar, which, generally falls in the month of August. Raksha Bandhan 2016 is on 18th of August.
Significance of Raksha Bandhan:
Raksha Bandhan has more significance than just celebrating siblinghood; it is about the more broader aspects of festivity and of family, friendship, etc.
- The sacred bond: The first and foremost significance of Rakhi remains to celebrate the bond of sisterhood and brotherhood, of the love and of the care that they share with each other. The bond is not just a brother and a sister, but in olden times, the bond also signified that of a relationship, of a peaceful bond, and of all the affection that one person has for the other.
- The propitious occasion: Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the auspicious occasion of a full moon which is considered to be holy and sacred. Rakhi is also known as a Vish Tarak– the destroyer of venom, Punya Pradayak – the bestower of boons, and Pap Nashak – the destroyer of sins in different parts of India. This day is considered to be religious for the Brahmins as well and in northern parts, Goddess Bhagwati is worshipped on this day.
- Family bonding: This is a time where elders and the younger all come together to cherish the essence of festivity and relish togetherness.
- The promise: Rakhi is not only about a promise made by a brother and a sister to protect each other from the evil, but, it also encompasses wider aspects of a happy and peaceful co-existence. The basic idea behind the holy thread being a promise of a lifetime, a promise of protecting each other and facing the odds together under all circumstances.
The Hindu festivals have their own set of customs and traditions which have been followed by generations, and, shall be continued to future generations as well. There are certain rituals and basic traditions which are a must on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, and it is with these practices that the significance and idea behind Rakhi are widely spread.
- The Rakhis and Rakshabandhan Gifts: To start off with, the women buy Rakhis for relatives as well as their brothers and men of the family. It is also a tradition to give along with the Rakhi, Raksha Bandhan gifts, which can be in the form of cash, or as the sister/brother may like. The shopping for Rakshabandhan Gifts and the Rakhis begins weeks and days before, sometimes because of the excitement and other times because of the work that might need attention later.
- The ritual of tying Rakhi: The Rakhis are tied on the wrists of brothers and relatives on the morning of Rakhi. Everyone is nicely dressed, and gather at one place, which feels more like a get-together and all the customs are followed.
- Prayers: Any festival remains incomplete without worship and prayers. And, so is the case with Rakshabandhan as well.
And that was about what you can do and the significance that this festival has. Over the years, our ancestors have passed on various traditions and customs, of which, Rakshabandhan is one major part.
In current date, many people also believe in sharing various Rakshabandhan pictures and images with relatives/friends through social media; a more advanced and technologically sound system. Rakshabandhan pictures start pouring down a day or two before the occasion and by the time it is Rakhi, these images completely take over our phones and messaging groups.
So, Happy Rakshabandhan to you well in advance! Don’t forget to send some messages and Rakshabandhan pictures to your close ones and let them know how they are important!