Raksha Bandhan – a ritual of love between brother and sister
“Raksha Bandhan” or “Rakhi-purnima” is a widely celebrated occasion in eastern and northern part of India. It is a festival to celebrate love and loyalty for the siblings. Ideally, on this day, the girl ties a string of colourful thread around the wrist of her brother, who in turn, takes a vow to protect her from all the evil forces in life. This vow signifies the name of the ritual, as “raksha” stands for protection and “bandhan” for tying-up. In addition, the brother and sister duo present some gifts to each other.
The origin and the relevance
The link to the ritual of Raksha Bandhan goes back to the time of Mahabharata. It is believed that when Krishna had accidentally cut his hand, Draupadi tore-off a portion from her saree and put it around the wound for healing it. During the time of her torment in the hands of the Kauravas, Krishna took off that piece of cloth and turned it into thousands of such sarees to save her dignity. Thus, he fulfilled his promise of protection for his beloved sister. Just like other festivals, the celebration of Raksha Bandhan is engraved to the roots of Indian culture that celebrates unity and harmony in the family. In the ancient ages, the brother would visit her sister in her in-law’s house where she had been married off long ago. This would bring the girl a feeling of comfort and assurance that she has not been forgotten. The brother would present goodies from home, which would carry the essence of her homeland, of her parents. Even in today’s generation, festivals like these bring the family together which has been separated in fragments. Raksha Bandhan reminds us of love, commitment and our duties towards our family members who are often forced to take the back-seat in the race of class and competition. It is never to be forgotten that our cousins and siblings were the first-ever friends who would always tease us, bully us but would also lend the most helping hand whenever we landed in trouble.
Ways to make this day memorable
The purpose of celebrating Raksha Bandhan lies in cherishing the special bond between siblings. Girls can pick up a colourful Rakhi which is available in all ranges and designs in the markets.
They can also shop for decorative sweet-boxes to satiate the brother’s sweet-tooth cravings. Both the boy and the girl should start preparing well in advance with a new set of clothes for the day of the festival. When the ceremony is over, the brother-sister duo can plan a family go-out or may arrange a house-party with their kin to make the day memorable.
The joy of gift giving
Before you hop on to the gifts section, remember the best way to gear up is to possess a clear idea about what your dearest brother or sister would like the most. While there are many options available in the market with specially designated Rakhi-gift stalls in the high-end stores, it is wiser to take a step ahead and go for tailor-made, customised products that are unique and personalised for your dear sibling.
Your sibling will be elated to receive an engraved photo-frame, a coffee-mug or maybe a Raksha Bandhan chocolate box wrapped with a nice image of them printed and customised on these. These gifts are a very beautiful way to make someone feel special without burning a hole in your pockets. As the saying goes, what makes it priceless, makes it precious; just like the beautiful relationship of a brother and a sister.
In the broader sense, the festival of Raksha Bandhan signifies unity and solidarity and has also taken a significant part in the proliferation of brotherhood among the citizens during the turbulent times in India’s freedom movement.