Saturday, 13 August 2011

Rakhi Festival

Rakhi festival or Raksha Bandhan festival is one of the most popular Hindu festivals in India, which celebrates the sacred bond of love between brothers and sisters. The term Raksha Bandhan is originated from the Hindi language, which means a relationship or an association based on protection. Rakshabandhan festival, which has a long standing Indian heritage, is more commonly known as Rakhi. 

Rakhi festival is celebrated on the Shravan Purnima (full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan (July - August), where in sisters tie the sacred Rakhi thread on their brothers right wrists, and pray for their long life. Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is called by various names such as Vish Tarak (the destroyer of poison), Punya Pradayak (the offer of boons), and Pap Nashak (the destroyer of sins).

The auspicious Rakhi Thread

As Rakhi signifies the various phases of protection from evil forces, as a mark of this, the sister ties Rakhi string to her brother’s hand. The Raksha Bandhan thread is tied on the right wrist of brothers who in return take a pledge to protect their sisters from all evils. This Rakhi thread binds brothers and sisters into a bond of affection and care for each other. These threads in ancient times used to have simple traditional looks. However, in the modern times, Rakhis are made more attractive, finely blown up using various artistic patterns. Finest quality soft cloth, shimmering beads, stones and zari are used these days to create Rakhi threads. They are also made of silk with gold and silver threads, beautifully crafted embroidered sequins, and studded with semi precious stones.

How is Rakhi Festival celebrated in India?

The traditional way of celebrating Rakhi festival starts with the offerings made to the family deities. Then, the sisters prepare the Thali for the puja which contains the Rakhi threads, kumkum (vermillion) powder, rice grains and an earthen or metal lamp called diya , incense sticks and sweets. They perform the aarti to the brother with the thali and tie the rakhi. They apply the kumkum powder or Tilak on the forehead of the brother and offers sweets. When doing this ritual, the sister prays for her brother's well being. The brother in turn blesses the sister and promises to protect her from the evils of the world. Rakhi gifts are offered to the sisters, as a token of love and affection.

Legendary Importance

A part in the Indian epic Mahabharatha narrates the divine bond of brother-sister love between Lord Krishna and Draupathi. Lord Krishna, during his battle with the evil King Shishupal, was hurt and left with bleeding finger. Draupathi, on seeing this, tore a strip of cloth from her sari and tied around his wrist to stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna was bounded by her sisterly love and he promised her to repay this debt whenever required. Years later, the Pandavas lost Draupathi in the game of dice. When Kauravas started removing her sari, Lord Krishna helped her by elongating the sari so that they could not remove it.Though, Rakhi Festival is more famous in north and western region of India, Raksha Bandhan festival is celebrated with much religious importance all over India. Rakshabandhan is celebrated as Nariyal Purnima in West India, Kajari Purnima in Central India, Pavitropanain in Gujarat. Read more about Rakhi Festival Celebration in India Here.



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