"Raksha" means protection,
"bandhan" means bound or binding.
bandhan, the festival to celebrate the immaculate love between
brothers and sisters is falling on August 19, 2005.
India has always been known for its colorful festivals and its
celebratory fervor. Fresh flowers, exchange of gifts, tying rakhis,
new clothes, meeting new and old friends and offering of
All these sum up a typical Indian celebration. Although the
significance of these festivals varies with each occasion, they
are observed, without exception, with great pomp and joy. The
basic characteristics of Indian festivals are the gaiety,
enthusiasm, feasts, customs, rituals, and prayers to God. Some of
these festivals are related to family and relationship bonding. Raksha Bandhan is one of the festival that strengthen the bond of
relationships through obeying of various rituals and customs
related to them. They keep the emotional bonding of the family
members. say, between husband and wife, in-laws, or brother and
sisters alive and intact.
mid-August, on Shravan Purnima, Hindus all over celebrate Raksha
Bandhan. "Raksha" means protection, "bandhan"
means bound or binding. In North India, the occasion is popularly called Raksha Bandhan
or Rakhi, the tying of an amulet. On this day, sisters tie an
amulet, the Rakhi, around the right wrist of their brothers
praying for their long life and happiness.
In some places in medieval India, where women felt unsafe, they tied Rakhi round the wrists of men they could count upon, regarding them as brothers.
In South India, RAKSHA BANDHAN is called Avani Avittam. The Raksha Bandhan full moon day is a household festival for the men, where the sacred thread is ceremoniously changed.
The festival of Raksha Bandhan is similar to Karthikay in Kartika (October-November) in South India. On this day, sisters offer food to brothers to wish them a long life. The festival is an
occasion to strengthen the bond between a brother and a sister.
In ancient times a woman tied a 'raksha' on her husband's wrist to protect him from evil. Gradually this changed; she tied a 'raksha' on her brother's right wrist, to protect him from evil influence and those factors which may taint his character, and to strengthen the bond of sibling love between them. She visits her home and performs his 'pujan' by applying kumkum and rice grains on his forehead. In return the brother gives her a gift and vows to protect her too. The 'rakhadi' itself ranges from a coloured cotton string to exquisitely decorated balls of various sizes and materials such as fluffy cotton, 'zari' paper, tinsel, beads and so on.
A second sentiment relates to 'Baleva' and our devotion to the Lord. Just as Bali Raja offered devotion to Lord Narayan by sacrificing his kingdom and himself, devotees should endeavor to emulate him. That is the true spirit of Baleva.
On Raksha Bandhan day, priests also tie rakhis on their patrons and in return receive offerings from them. In some parts of the country it is customary to draw figures on the walls of their home and worship them with offerings of vermilion and kheer. The imprints of palms are also put on either side of the entrance and rakhis are stuck on them. Some parts of India also reserve this day for the sacred thread changing ceremony when the young boys discard the old one and don a new one ritualistically. However it is the symbolic everlasting bond between brothers and sisters that reinforces ties between them even across continents, which has the most significance on this auspicious day.
On the full moon day of Shravan, after one or two months of heavy rains
and strong winds, the sea becomes calm. On this day boats are allowed to
launch into the sea again. But before doing so the sea is worshipped by
throwing a coconut (“naral”) into the water. In this way Varun, the god
of the water, is worshipped.
The Coconut as “Prasad”
The coconut is a fruit full of symbolism. It is known as “Shriphal”,
or “divine fruit”. Within its hard shell it contains food and drink, the
two essential elements God has placed in creation for man’s nourishment.
The hard shell expresses God’s desire that man should enjoy the fruits
of the earth through personal effort. The coconut is the most common
fruit used as an offering to God. The effort needed to break the shell
represents the element of sacrifice. The kernel and the water are first
offered to God and then shared with all those present, and also taken
home to be shared with relatives and neighbours as “prasad”, or food
blessed by God.
The passing of time and the concept of globalization have influenced the
festivals and the ways of celebrating it. Today tying of Rakhi is not
confined to the siblings alone. The concept has been widened and Rakhi
is tied to anybody whom a girl wants to be a sister of. Nowadays,
Raksha Bandhan day is also a day for some of the girls to visit the
orphanages or prisons to tie Rakhi to the inmates of the orphanage and
jails. This is a total humanitarian approach. This kind act gives the
fated Rakhi brothers a feeling of hope that there are people who love
and care for them too.
To conclude, Raksha Bandhan stirs up one of the deepest and noblest
emotions in the human breast—the abiding and chaste bond of love between
the brother and the sister. The delicate cord tied by the sister to the
brother on this day pulsates with this sublime sentiment. The
sister–brother relationship highlighted by the Rakhi goes far beyond the
mere personal protection of a female from a male. It also implies the
basic element of an amicable and harmonious social life where all
members of the society look upon themselves as brothers and sisters and
as children of one common motherland.
- Raksha Bandhan History, Signification, Celebration, Greetings
Netglimse.com - Provides Origin,
History, Recipes, Tradition, Rituals & Greetings.
Rakhi Gifts -
Send rakhi for brothers and rakhi gifts for sisters that includes
jewelry, chocolates, gift basket, greeting cards, rakhi puja thali
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