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Raksha Bandhan - Strengthening the bond of Love

by Madhav Srinivasan 5 year, 9 months ago

Raksha Bandhan is a festival that’s unique to India, especially in the northern parts, as it is celebrated to signify the love that a sister has for her brother. Here’s a quick look at the history behind the festival and how it’s celebrated…

A Peek at Rakhi and When It Is Celebrated

Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi, is one the eminent festivals celebrated mostly in North India on the full moon day (purnima) of the Shravana month (roughly during August in the Gregorian calendar). It is mainly observed to commemorate the beautiful relationship between a brother and sister.


The Stories Around the Festival

There have been many mentions of Raksha Bandhan in Indian mythology.


According to one particular reference, the festival started during the time of King Bali, who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. The Lord was so pleased by his devotion that he left his divine abode and came down to Earth to protect and watch over Bali’s kingdom.


Vishnu’s consort, goddess Lakshmi, who wished to have her husband back in his heavenly abode, came down and sought refuge in Bali’s kingdom. She tied a sacred thread in Bali’s wrist during the time of Shravan Purnima and when asked about her identity, revealed that she was the goddess herself and told Bali of her desire to be with her husband.


The king immediately granted her wish and requested Lord Vishnu to accompany her, signifying the pact between a sister and the brother that she ties a rakhi to.


The Rituals and Customs Involved

On this particular occasion, a sister initially prepares the pooja thali. This thali consists of the rakhi, vermillion, a diya (an oil lamp that’s used to perform aarti), some delicious sweets and a few grains of rice.

As a part of the ritual, the sister chants a few mantras (verses) wishing for her brother’s long life. Through these mantras, she also makes references to the story of King Bali and the goddess Lakshmi.


Following this, she performs an aarti upon her brother and prays for his well being. In turn, her brother gives her sweets, promises to protect her at all times and gives her some material gifts. In the modern world, sisters and brothers exchange gifts and rakhis through the internet if they are separated by great distances.


The Significance of Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan is a festival that provides a unique opportunity to celebrate the warm and affectionate relationship that’s shared between a brother and sister. It is an occasion for a family to get together and cherish their common ties. Since time immemorial, the festival has been observed to integrate spiritual, cultural and moral values into the society. 


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