Raksha Bandhan is an occasion to celebrate the sacred bond of love and affection between siblings with lots of verve. Also known as Raksha Bandhan across the world, this festival is primarily a north Indian festival that is celebrated all brothers and sisters to express their deep emotions, love and affection. Raksha Bandhan, (the bond of protection) or Rakhi, or is a festival primarily observed in India and Nepal, which celebrates the relationship between brothers, cousins and sisters. It is also called Rakhi Purnima in most of India. It is also celebrated in some parts of Pakistan. The festival is observed by Hindus, Sikhs and some Muslims. The central ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on her brother's wrist. This symbolizes the sister's love and prayers for her brother's well-being, and the brother's lifelong vow to protect her. The festival falls on the full moon day (Shravan Poornima) of the Shravan month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar. It grew in popularity after Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of Chittor, sent a rakhi to the Mughal emperor Humayun when she required his help. Many historical stories associated with Raksha Bandhan like Krishna and Draupadi story, King Bali and Goddess Laxmi story, Yama and the Yamuna story, Alexander the Great and King Puru etc. Not a single festival in India is complete without the typical Indian festivities, the gatherings, celebrations, exchange of sweets and gifts, lots of noise, singing and dancing. Raksha Bandhan is a regional celebration to celebrate the sacred relation between brothers and sisters. Primarily, this festival belongs to north and western region of India but soon the world has started celebrating this festival with the same verse and spirit. Rakhi has become an integral part of those customs.
Rituals : On the day of Rakhi, sisters prepares the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal, rakhi thread and sweets. The ritual begins with a prayer in front of God, then the sister ties Rakhi to her brother and wishes for his happiness and well-being. In turn, the brother acknowledge the love with a promise to stand by his sister through all the good and bad times.
Sisters tie Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers amid chanting of mantras, put roli and rice on his forehead and pray for his well-being. She bestows him with gifts and blessings. In turn, brothers also wish her a good life and pledges to take care of her. He gives her a return gift. The gift symbolizes the physical acceptance of her love, reminder of their togetherness and his pledge. The legends and the reference in history repeated, the significance of the festival is emphasized. RAKSHA BANDHAN is called Avani Avittam in South India. Recitation of the Vedas on this great day is highly beneficial. This festival is also known as Upakarmam, and is specially sacred to the Brahmins, who have been invested with the sacred thread. Rakshabandhan if taken in true sense has a much broader perspective; the festival encompasses true sense of peace and brotherhood. The values propagated by the occasion if inculcated by all human beings can bring the much-needed relief from the ongoing violence and mistrust. The rich Indian mythology provides a religious reason to celebrate the day in a specific way. Many epics are related to the day and the origin of Raksha Bandhan. The festival finds a mention in most of the epics and its origin can be traced back to the mythological Pouranik times.