Why Rakhi?Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is of great significance in Indian cultural ethos. It is a festival signifying the essence of the relationship between a brother and a sister. Like any other Indian festival, Rakhi is the celebration of togetherness and love. Raksha Bandhan means bond of protection . It is the affection, admiration, love, fondness, respect and emotional bonding between siblings that is the meaning of rakhi festival.
The festival falls on the Shravan Purnima which is a full moon day of shravan month and which comes generally in the month of August. On this day, the sisters tie a 'rakhi' or a 'thread' on their brother's wrist and pray for their well being and brothers in return promise to protect their sister from all kinds of problems and difficulties. There is also the custom of giving a gift by the brother to the sister after tying the rakhi.
Significance of Rakhi
The kaleidoscope of Indian culture showcases various colorful festivals, fairs and occasions that are celebrated with much joy and fervor. These festivals herald the message of brotherhood and fraternity among all human beings. Among such auspicious occasions the Rakhi festival holds so much importance for the Hindu community in India and abroad. On the festival of Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan, sisters tie a thread on their brother's wrist and in return the brother pledges to protect her when the need arises. This fragile thread of Rakhi, which reflects an unconditional bond of affection between brothers and sisters, is considered more stronger than the iron chains.
This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm every year. The preparations for celebration of Rakhi, which is one of the most awaited festival in India, starts much earlier than the day it falls. The markets are flooded with Rakhis in myriad colors, designs and shapes complimented with Rakhi special gifts, sweets and other items. Girls start preparations and shopping quite early. They shop for new clothes and buy rakhis, specially the ones that have to be sent to the brothers staying far. 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 will 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.
Though now Rakhi is considered as a brother and sister festival, it was not always so. There have been examples in history where in rakhi has just been a raksha or protection. It could be tied by wife, a daughter or mother. The priests tied rakhi to the people who came seeking their blessings. The sages tied the sacred thread to themselves to safe guard them from the evil. Some people tie rakhi to neighbors and close friends signifying the special bond shared between the two. Rakhi is not only a symbol of fond relationship between brothers and sisters but also a symbol of warmth and compassion shared between the communities as a whole.
Raksha Bandhan assumes all forms of protection, righteousness, friendship, well being and destroyer of all sin. The rakhi tying ritual has become so much a part of the families that come what may brothers and sisters try to reach out to each other on this particular day bringing back the togetherness and emotional bonding of the family. Rakhi Festival not only strengthens the bond of love and affection between brothers and sisters but also brings friends and strangers closer. When a rakhi is tied on the wrists of anyone it acts as a way to connect individuals on a new platform and brings them closer.