Why & How is Raksha Bandhan Celebrated?•
Posted on August 08 2022
Raksha Bandhan is a popular festival among North Indians. The festival is celebrated in Shraavan, the Hindu lunar month that falls in August. The celebration marks a day of love and protection among siblings. It strengthens the brother-sister relationship. The word Raksha indicates protection and Bandhan mentions tie. Together, the phrase Raksha Bandhan represents the knot of protection.
Although the festival originated to strengthen the eternal love and bond of a brother-sister relationship, it has gone far beyond that over the years. Today, the relationship is not restricted to just blood relationship but between any two people who love and care for each other. However, the day is still majorly celebrated among siblings to show their love and affection towards each other.
On this day, a sister wakes up early in the morning and prays to the Almighty for his well-being and applies a tilak on his forehead. She then ties a rakhi on her wrist to emphasise on her never-ending faith in him. There is a special muhurta or timing when the rakhi has to be tied. She also feeds him his favourite sweets to show her affection towards him. The brother, in turn, promises to be there for his sister always and keep her happy and safeguard her from any harm. He also gives his sister a gift as a mark of his love for her.
Apart from the above-mentioned basic celebrations, there are a few distinct and interesting rituals that are observed in different parts of India. These rituals have added life to the celebrations thus making the festival all the more enjoyable.
Read on to know more about these rituals followed across the country.
Celebrations in North India
In Uttarakhand, the menfolk of the family change the janeyu thread that they wear throughout the year. The old thread is discarded and a new one is worn after worshipping the lord. On the other hand, the people of Jammu get started with the celebrations a month before the actual day. They fly beautiful kites with the help of a special string known as gattu dor. The sky is a spectacular sight with beautiful kites of all sizes and colours.
In Rajasthan, the lumba rakhi tradition is observed on this day. The sister ties three rakhis on her sister-in-law’s wrist as she takes good care of her brother and prays for his well-being. People from Haryana celebrate this day as salono. On this day, the temple priest ties an amulet on the wrist of anyone who visits the shrine. The usual rakhi tying ritual by the sister is also observed.
Celebrations in Central India
States like Bihar, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand celebrate Raksha Bandhan day as Kajari Purnima. The day is dedicated to mothers and farmers. Farmers pay their obeisance to Goddess Bhagawati and request Her to bestow them with a good harvest of crops. They perform several rituals for the healthy and long life of their sons.
Mothers make cone shaped cups with leaves and plant barley seeds in these cups days way ahead of the special day. They keep these cups safe in a dark room that has already been cleaned using cow dung and decorated with rice grains. On the actual day, they immerse these cups in a nearby waterbody and once again pray for their sons’ long lives.
Celebrations in East India
The usual celebrations take place with pomp and gaiety in this part of the country. Apart from these celebrations, the states of West Bengal and Odisha celebrate this day as Jhulan Purnima. They render special prayers and make special offerings to Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu and Radha on this day.
Celebrations in West India
The states of Maharashtra and Gujarat specifically follow various rituals on the occasion of this festival. People from Gujarat in particular celebrate the day as Pavitropana. This is marked by prayers to Lord Shiva seeking His blessings. Shivalingas are given elaborate baths and a holy thread dipped in Panchagaiva is tied around the linga. The Panchagaiva is essentially a mix of cow dung, cow’s urine, milk, curd and ghee. Gujaratis are of the belief that tying the thread helps them to gain moksha and also be blessed with purified souls.
The traditional rakhi is a simple red and golden coloured silk thread. Over the years, the design has undergone various changes. Today, rakhis are available in several colours and patterns. However, its significance continues to be the same. There are also various interesting stories in Hindu mythology and puranas that talk about how Raksha Bandhan originated.
Written by - Deepthi K