Festivals are different in different cultures and every culture has its own beauty. Raksha Bandhan is one of the most emotional and thread of love festival for Hindus all across the globe.
Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is a festival which is celebrated to mark a ‘bond of protection’ between brothers and sisters. Observed in India and Pakistan, it is celebrated mostly by Hindus, Sikhs and some Muslims. The Raksha Bandhan symbolizes the love of a sister for her brother while the brother takes vow to protect his sister. The festival of Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on a full moon day in the Shravan month of the Hindu calendar.
Raksha Bandhan involves the tying of a sacred thread called ‘Rakhi’ around the wrist of brother by the sister. The bother offers gifts to his sister and vows to look after her and protect her from harm. The gifts usually include envelope filled with money however other gifts like clothing or jewelry may also be given. The siblings traditionally feed each other sweets which may include the traditional sub continental dishes like Jalebi, Kaju Katli or Burfi.
Gifts offering by the brothers in Raksha Bandhan are really important for sisters. These days even brothers are selecting Rakhi gifts through online shopping and stylish rakhis are also available on many shopping carts online.
In Northern States of India, there is a cultural tradition of giving the cousins a status similar to siblings. Due to this in several communities also includes cousins are also tied Rakhi by the girls and women on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. These men are referred to as cousin brothers in regional parlance. In some regions of India there also exists a tradition of tying Rakhi on unrelated boys and men. Men and boys who are also considered as brothers can be tied Rakhi if they can commit to the lifelong obligations to provide protection and love to sisters.
Raksha Bandhan Celebrations in India and Nepal
Raksha Bandhan is a festival that is celebrated all over India however in some parts of the country the day is celebrated in a different way. In some cases, as in Orissa, the day is spent in worshipping the cows and the bullocks. In Maharashtra, the day is marked as a respect to Lord Varuna, the god of the Sea.
In Nepal, the festival of Raksha Bandhan is celebrated as Janai Purnima. Purnima is used to mean ‘Full Moon’ whereas Janai means ‘Sacred Thread’. On this day, the Brahmins and the Kashetry families change the sacred thread i.e. Janai. The sacred thread is tied on the wrist by senior members of the family and the relatives. The day is usually celebrated by eating special foods especially ‘Kwati’ which is a soup made of seven different types of grains.