A Peek at Rakhi and
When It Is Celebrated
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
have been many mentions of Raksha Bandhan in Indian mythology.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.