Raksha Bandhan is originated from Sanskrit word Raksha means ‘Protection’ and Bandhan means bond. The term simply translates to ‘bond of protection’. Raksha Bandhan is a major holiday in india and is celebrated every year on the full moon day of Hindu LuniSolar month of Shravana, and Georgian calendar month of August. This holiday in India marks the celebration of the connection between the protector and the protectee.
As per the Hindu traditions, this day is popularly known to celebrate the love between brothers and sisters who may or may not be biologically related. On this holiday in India, every sister ties Rakhi (a Sacred thread) on the brother's wrist and pays for his prosperity while brother gives her a token of gift and a promise to protect her from all the negativity and harm.
How Local Indians Celebrate Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated prominently in the northern parts of India especially in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, etc. Sister usually purchases Rakhis for their brothers from the market which is usually decorated especially for this occasion. Sisters purchase special Rakhi in the form of colorful threads, silver Rakhis, bracelets, amulets, and other men's wrist accessories for the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
On the day of Raksha Bandhan, brothers and sisters wear new traditional Indian clothes and tie Rakhi to their beloved brothers in front of family. The ritual includes lightning of diya or earthen lamp which represents performing aarti for their brothers. Sisters pray for the well being of their brother and apply tilak (red dot) on the forehead of their brothers. Along with this, a small piece of traditional Indian sweet is fed to the brother by sisters and finally sisters tie the rakhi around the wrist of their brothers.
Rakhi signifies the importance of the relationship between brother and sister and also marks the responsibility of brothers to protect their sister from any harm or problems. After Rakhi is tied by the sisters, Brother offers special rakhi gifts for the sisters. Gift can be of any kind or even money.
Rakhi is also celebrated in a unique way across India, In the state of Uttarakhand, the occasion is celebrated with the changing of “janau” threads that are worn around torso. In the Jammu region, Raksha Bandhan begins with a kite flying festival which begins one month before the festival. In East India, people worship Lord Krishna and Radha while in some parts of South India people worship the sea.
What is Most Important About Raksha Bandhan Holiday to the People of India
Raksha Bandhan marks the significance and strengthens the bond between brothers and sisters. On this day, families get together and celebrate this festival with games, dance, traditional Indian food, etc. Women travel from across the world or even from abroad to tie Rakhi to their brother. The most unique part of this festival is that people don't need to be biologically connected. A lot of women do not have brothers, they still tie Rakhi to someone they trust and believe in. This bond is not considered less than the real bond of siblings
Sisters who for any reason cannot travel to their brother’s place send Rakhi by post with a small piece of letter which shows the love and respect for their brothers. This is one of the most awaited festivals in India as many Brothers and Sisters meet each other once in a year on this day.
Advice from the Locals for Visitors during this Holiday
Raksha Bandhan is usually a one-day celebration within homes. People usually don’t go out and celebrate this festival. Many markets are decorated and customized for this occasion where you can find men finding suitable gifts for their sisters and women looking for unique rakhi for their brothers. It is advised to visit a Hindu family home and witness this traditional as a local. It is very fascinating to see as everyone is wearing Indian Traditional clothes and celebrates the love for each other.
You can visit Gujrat as it provides magnificent experience to witness people worshipping Lord Shiva with the belief that all negativity will be demolished by him and earth will have peace and prosperity.
Naarali Poornima is also considered to be the famous place to visit at this time as people celebrate along the coast of Maharashtra, Goa, and Karnataka and involves throwing of coconuts into the sea. One-month long Kite festival in Jammu is also a great place to visit with locals flying kites of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Stories from Locals
Locals wait for Raksha Bandha like any other festival with full enthusiasm and joy. As per a local from New Delhi, this is the most awaited and fun day in the entire year for her. This is because on this day she can meet with her whole family especially her brother who lives miles apart from her. This is the day where she relives her childhood by looking at all her childhood photos with her brother. The fights they had with each other, games they used to play with each other when they love each other. This day is not only about her brother but her other family members who sit together and remember all the memories of their childhood. There is dance, games, laugh, music not with her friends but with her family. There is also sadness when her brother leaves again for his work and she waits for him to come back again.
For me, This is the day when I go out in the market, try looking for a gift which will put a smile on my sister’s face. I try to bring the best gifts available in the market just to see her smile while she unpacks the gift. There is a tradition that follows with many families that until the prayer is over, sisters cannot eat anything. Though I would never want that, and I do not want to change the tradition as well, therefore I do not eat anything until my sisters pray for me. My whole family gets together and play different games. There is laughter, joy, fun, food and a lot of memories on this day. There are Rakhis on my wrist that gives me a feeling of love, responsibility, and energy.
Overall Feeling Raksha Bandhan Brings in the Country
Raksha Bandhan is hugely celebrated in many states across India. As everyone is busy with their lives and it can be months since you have seen your brother or sister, this is the day where people travel miles by trains, flights, buses, etc to meet with their families and pray for their prosperity. Sisters are always very excited about the surprises and gifts she will get from her brother. They go out in the market to purchase Rakhi days before the festival. Some even make Rakhi by themselves to make their brothers happy. The overall feeling that this festival brings is of excitement, a celebration of love, prosperity, happiness, and warmth.