Pure love between brother and sister is one of the most deepest and noblest form of human emotions. One such festival which celebrates this love is is Raksha Bandhan. The festival is one of the famous festival of India which marks the love between brother sister.
“Raksha” means protection and “Bandhan” means bound. Sisters tie a thread called rakhi around their brother’s wrist for his long life and happiness. Brothers in return give a promise to provide them protection.
Rakhis are usually made up of silk with gold or silver threads. Now a days, bracelet rakhis and hanging rakhis of different designs are available in market. Beautiful and hanging rakhis are normally made for bhabhis(sister-in-laws)
History and Origin of Raksha Bandhan
India is a country of rich heritage and varied culture, and boasts about its various festivals that are celebrated round the year which signify its rich heritage and culture.
There are many festivals celebrated in India; Raksha Bandhan is the one which celebrates the bond of love between brother and sister. The festival comes in the month of August, and is celebrated all over the world with equal love and pious.
There are many stories behind the origin of Raksha Bandhan but the actual origin behind the festival, is still unknown.
One of such story belongs to the Mahabharata time. According to which once while flying a kite, Lord Krishna cut his finger on the string. Draupadi who was standing there tore a piece of her saree immediately and tied it around his cut finger.
Lord Krishna was overwhelmed by this gesture of Draupadi, and gave her a big promise to protect her from any evil in her lifetime. And as everyone is aware how he fulfilled his promise the time when Draupadi needed it the most during her cheer-haran when the pandavas lost her to Kauravas.
Another story behind the origin of Raksha Bandhan involved Emperor Humayon and Rani Karnavati of Mewar. Bahadur Shah Zafar attacked Mewar; Rani Karnavati sent a letter for help to Humayon in the mid-16th century.
After reading the letter, Humayan immediately left his palace to help Rani and protected her from the attack of Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Traditions and Rituals Performed in Raksha Bandhan
There are many rituals performed on Raksha Bandhan in all parts of India and World. There could be slight variations in the rituals but more and less they are common in all parts of the World.
Amidst the spirit of festivity and fun, these Raksha Bandhan rituals are very sternly followed. On this day sisters tie a silk thread on their brother’s wrist wishing them a safe life. It is surrounding this thread tying ceremony that all the Raksha Bandhan rituals are formed. However, the these rituals of Rakhi festival are conducted much before the day actually comes.
Raksha Bandhan falls on Purnima or Full Moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan. There are many rituals performed in the function which are common in almost all the Hindu families or some customs are run in a particular family.
Sisters do a lot of shopping and buy new clothes to be born on the day of Rakhi. Normally the day begins with the worshipping of lord Krishna. The family members take a bath to purify mind and body. Sisters prepare a thali of Pooja. The thali is decorated with kumkum, roli, rice, diyas, sweets and other materials for doing tikka of brother. First the Pooja is performed at temple and then the sister takes arti of her brother, and offers him sweets. She than ties a rakhi round her wrist and in turn the brother offers her a promise to protect her.
Is there any Prayer or Mantra for Raksha Bandhan?
The following mantra is chanted while doing rituals in Raksha Bandhan:
“Suraj shakhan chhodian, Mooli chhodia beej
Behen ne rakhi bandhi / Bhai tu chir jug jee”
Meaning of this mantra is, the sun radiates its sunlight, and the radish spreads its seeds. The sister is tying a rakhi for the long life of her brother so that she may live long.
Normally when the sister is married, she visits her mother’s home and enjoys the day with family. If it is first raksha bandhan after her marriage, its like a big gathering and feast :).
Gifts are exchanged and brothers give promise to her sister to protect her from all the evils or problems throughout his life. He gives her money or gifts according to his capability as a token of his love.
Whatever the rituals or customs a family has, but the festivals depicts the bond between brother and sister and that should only matter always.