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How to Celebrate Rakhi Festival?

Rakhi festival is one of the most awaited and auspicious occasion for the Hindu community in India and abroad. Celebrated with much fervor and joy this festival comes every year in the month of Shravan (July-August) as per Hindu calendar. The festival of Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan heralds the message of brotherhood and fraternity as on this day sister ties a Rakhi thread on the wrist of her brother and he in return vows to protect her from all troubles. Signifying sister's unconditional love and care to her brother, the Rakhi festival holds so much importance in the Hindu family structure.

Preparations Prior to Rakhi in India
This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm every year. The preparations begin much earlier than the actual day. Colorful rakhis are available in the market some 20 days before the festival. People get into a shopping mood with new clothes. Even the sweet shops start their preparations well in advance to meet the rakhi demand. There are many gift shops offering special rakhi discounts and packages. For those brothers and sisters who for distances are not able to meet, it is a day for remembering the bygone time. Sisters unable to meet their brothers send Rakhi by post or through e-mails, e-cards, rakhi greeting cards, and rakhis through internet or mail. Nothing on this day can stop the overflowing emotions. It is also customary on the part of the brother to buy gifts for his sister.

Traditional Way of Celebrating Rakhi Festival in India
As per the tradition the family members get ready for the rituals early. First of all the offerings are made to the family deities. The sisters prepare the thali for the puja. It contains the rakhi threads, kumkum powder, rice grains and an earthen or metal lamp called diya , incense sticks (agarbattis) and sweets. The sister then performs the aarti of the brother with the thali and ties the rakhi. She then puts kumkum powder or Tilak on the forehead of the brother and offers sweets. While performing the ritual, the sister prays for her brother's well being and the brother in turn blesses the sister and promises to protect her from the evils of the world. He gifts something to her as a token of his love and affection.

Rakhi Festival Celebrations in Different Parts of India
Rakhi festival is celebrated in all parts of India, in various forms and names:
  • Rakhi Purnima : Rakhi Purnima is celebrated mainly in the north and north-west India with a lot of joy and excitement.
  • Avani Avittam or Upakarman :This form of Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in southern part of India like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh and its and important day for the Brahmin community there. This day is known as Upakarmam. On this day, the Hindus wear a new holy thread. Changing of the thread symbolises of the people getting rid of all sins and making a new beginning.
  • Nariyal Purnima :In the Indian states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Karnatka, Raksha Bandhan is called Nariyal Purnima. Offerings of coconuts (nariyals) is made to the Sea God. This form of Rakhi signifies the starting of a new season and very important for those who are dependent on the sea for their living. .
  • Kajari Purnima : In the parts of Indian states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, Rakshabandhan is celebrated in the form of Kajari Purnima. This day is an important occasion for the farmers and women. Rituals begin from Kajari Navami, five days before the full moon day.
  • Pavitropana : Rakshabandhan is celebrated in part of Gujarat as Pavitropana. People assemble in the temples of Lord Shiva and perform prayers. Threads of cotton and sometimes kasa grass, laced with products of cow, are tied around the three eyed shiva-linga.

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