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Traditions & Customs of Raksha Bandhan

Date: 18th August, 2016

Raksha Bandhan is a lively festival to embark upon merry-making activities with brothers and sisters. It is a pious occasion to rejoice the pious bond of affection shared between siblings with great verve and gaiety. This festival primarily belongs to North Indian region giving them a reason to bask in euphoria.

The most highlighting feature is the age-old traditions that go without being changed or altered. On the very propitious day of this celebration, sisters tie a holy thread called rakhi onto the wrist of their brothers. They perform aarti and then put a propitious mark (tilak) on the forehead of their brothers and offer them sweets. In return, brothers vow to provide a lifelong shield to their sisters overlooking all circumstances. Often brothers bestow their sisters with gifts or cash. The jollity surrounding this celebration is hard to decipher. Amidst the high spirits, the customs are also followed with utmost devotion.

Preparation of Raksha Bandhan Festival

Usually, the fancy rakhi threads with sweets are all set long before the Shravana Purnima or the full moon day of Shravana. As per Indian custom, everyone in the family gets ready in the early morning for the customs to be followed. They take a bath first of all to begin with rituals. Sisters on the other hand prepare a special rakhi puja thali with essentials Rakhi threads, roli, tilak, rice grains, diyas, aggarbattis (incense sticks), and sweets.

After offering prayers to the deity, sisters perform aarti ritual and tie rakhi on the wrist of the brothers. Sisters perform all these rituals mid the chanting of these famous mantras:

"Suraj shakhan chhodian, Mooli chhodia beej

Behen ne rakhi bandhi / Bhai tu chir jug jee", that simply means when sun radiates its sunshine, the radish stretches its seeds, sisters tie the rakhi to their brothers and wish they may live longer.

After this prayer, she wishes the thread of rakhi could excel protecting her brother from odds of life. While tying rakhi she chants following mantras:

"Yena baddho Balee raajaa daanavendro mahaabalah

tena twaam anubadhnaami rakshe maa chala maa chala", this simply means the sister ties that rakhi which was tied to king Bali- the king of demons, she yet says denoting the thread she prays that the rakhi would never falter in protecting its devotee.

With these rituals of the olden days, the significance of Raksha Bandha is easy to decipher. The way of celebration may differ from one place to other, but the sole flavor being the same.