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Raksha Bandhan
August 7, 2006, 2:59 pm
Filed under: Festivals

Our Hindu festivals are mostly based on legends and aim at propitiating deities who are believed to be endowed with supernatural powers. Rakhi Purnima or Raksha Bandhan is one of the most popular festivals in the country and is celebrated with lot of zest and enthusiasm.

Sravani is an ancient Vedic festival traditionally associated with the Brahmins on which day they change their sacred thread. Both Raksha Bandhan and Sravani are celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Shravan (August).Rakshabandhan or Rakhi the more popular of the two festivals is a Hindu sister’s day when brothers and sisters reaffirm their bonds of affections.Sisters tie colourful threads or rakhis on their brother’s wrists. The brothers in turn promise to protect their sisters and give them gifts. Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in different forms in different areas and it is also known by the names like rakhi, rakhri and saluno.

Rakshabandhan is a very special Indian festival, the celebration of the special bond between a brother and a sister. Sisters tie a special band on their brothers’ wrist on the day of Rakhi as a mark of affection. This thread, which pulsates with sisterly love and sublime sentiments, is rightly called the ‘Rakhi’.

It is a way of telling your brother that you’ll never forget how he teased you about everything, yet fought with those who spoke a single word against you and how you bid him farewell with a smile, and only he saw those tear drops in your eyes.

Around mid-August, on Shravan Purnima, Hindus all over celebrate Raksha Bandhan. “Raksha” means protection, “bandhan” means bound or binding. The festival is also known as Balev.

As per the traditions, the sister on this day prepares the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal and rakhis. She worships the deities, ties Rakhi to the brother(s) and wishes for their well-being. The brother in turn acknowledges the love with a promise to be by the sisters’ side through the thick and thin and gives her a token gift. Raksha Bandhan tightens the bong of love between the sister and brother.

The practice of tying thread was prevalent among the Rajputs and our history is full of instances related to the significance of this tradition. At the time of war when the brave Rajput soldiers prepared to go to the battlefield, the women folk followed the ritual of tying a thread around their wrist after applying a dash of vermilion powder on their forehead. This was considered a sign of good omen and the ladies believed that it would protect their men from the enemy’s blow and bring them victory. Today children and women all around the country filling the soilders with the zest to protect them against the dangers of the enemy tie Rakhi on the wrists of soldiers.

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.

Raksha-bandhan symbolises the deep love between brothers and sisters. The sanctity of this festival is acknowledged right from the vedic times to this our modern times, when we are living in thoroughly industrialised times in which our age-old and precious values of life are falling apart. Even if a girl ties Rakhi around the wrist of a stranger, both of them from the auspicious moment, look upon each other as brother and sister and become closer in this pure relationship than other blood relations.

During the Freedom Struggle, many young women tied rakhis around the wrists of young men and made them pledge their lives, their youth, their careers, their ambitions and even their dreams to the struggle for the freedom of their motherland from the shackles of slavery of British imperialism. It is probably for this very season that the great leader of Bengal, Surendranath Bannerji endeavoured to elevate this important festival of Raksha-Bhandhan to the status of a National Festival.

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