Raksha Bandhan – A Festival of Love & Protection between Brothers and Sisters

Raksha Bandhan is an important Hindu festival in India that celebrates affectionate bond, protective relationship and love between brothers and sisters. This important festival of love and protection between brothers and sisters is also called Rakhi Purnima, or simply Rakhi. Raksha Bandhan is a Sanskrit word made of two words “Raksha (Protection) + Bandhan (Knot or Bond). Literally it means “the tie or knot of protection” especially between brothers and sisters. Generally it is celebrated on a full moon day in the month of Shravan (August) according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar. The festival is mainly celebrated in India by Hindus. Some Jains and Sikhs also celebrate this festival. This festival can be also observed in Mauritius; and parts of Nepal and Pakistan. It is also celebrated by some people of Indian origin around the world.


On this pious day, girl or woman ties a sacred resham thread (called Rakhi) on her brother’s wrist. Before fastening the sacred thread she makes tilak (red mark with sacred powder called roli) on her brother’s forehead. Then she makes arati of her brother and prays for her brother’s wellbeing and longevity. Then she ties the sacred thread Rakhi on the wrist of her brother. She also serves sweets to her brother. In return, brother takes lifelong vow to protect her and presents gifts such as money, clothes, cards, flowers or something thoughtful. The brothers wear the Rakhi for the entire day anywhere as a reminder of their sisters they love most.


Preparation for Raksha Bandhan

Sisters start preparation for this festival days or weeks before with great zeal and enthusiasm as if they were waiting for this festival for long time. They shop for beautiful Rakhi in the markets as they want to tie the best Rakhi on their brothers’ hands. They also shop for other related items such as Puja Thali, Roli, Sweets, Gifts, Cards, Flowers and something thoughtful. Brothers also begin shop for their sisters ahead of the auspicious festival because they want to present beautiful gifts to their sisters.


On the Day of Rakhi

On the day of this auspicious festivals, sisters and brothers generally wake up in the early morning with full of excitement. After taking their baths they get together in nice dresses; generally in traditional dresses. Sisters tie the loving and protection bond (Rakhi) on their brothers’ hands with lots of happiness and pray for everything good for their brothers. Then brothers provide gifts to their sisters happily and promise for lifelong protection.


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