All Indian festivals are meant for brining the family and friends together. Raksha Bandhan is no different. It is a festival of affection, sublime sentiments and union. The exact meaning of the term Raksha Bandhan would be: ‘bond of protection’ and through this feeling of protection flourishes care, love and sacred emotions of brother & sister.
The day sees sisters tying Rakhis (decorated, scared threads) on the wrist of their brothers; although this is a festival celebrated primarily by the Hindus, India being a secular country, people with other religious faiths also take part in the celebrations.
Like the majority of the other festivals celebrated in this country, Raksha Bandhan also involves a number of rituals. Sisters need to prepare pooja thalis (worshiping tray); the usual constituents of the thali are: the Rakhi thread, chawal (rice), diya (metal or earthen lamp), Roli (a mix of turmeric and lime) and sweets.
Right at the beginning of the ritual, the entire family, particularly the sister prays in front of God and places the thali in front of the idols to get the items on it blessed by the almighty. Then, the sister ties the Rakhi on her brother’s wrist wishing his complete wellbeing and happiness. In some parts of India, the sister also needs to draw a Tilak on her brother’s forehead. The Tilak is usually done using the Roli and Rice.
Once the sister completes her duties, the brother needs to acknowledge her lover promising her to be by her side both in good and bad times. Depending on their financial abilities, brothers and sisters can also exchange gifts, although that’s definitely not mandatory. However, as giving gifts is a way of showing love, most brothers buy their sister’s favorite things during Rakhi; sisters, on the other hand, search for the most attractive Rakhis for their brothers.
This Year India will be celebrating Rakhi on Sunday, 10th August.