Indian festival: Raksha Bandhan background with an elegant Rakhi, Rice Grains and Kumkum. A traditional Indian wrist band which is a symbol of love between Brothers and Sisters – Photo by Dipak Shelare
Raksha Bandhan, also abbreviated to Rakhi, is the Hindu festival that celebrates brotherhood, protection and love on the full moon in the month of Shravana in the lunar calendar.
In Sanskrit, Raksha Bandhan means “tie of protection”, therefore on this festive day, the sister ties a Rakhi made of soft threads in red and gold, onto her brother’s wrist, praying for his health and safety. The brother responds by vowing to protect her.
It is an ancient tradition with the purpose to honour the relationship between brother and sister but, today the festival has developed so others can join in the festivities:
- Priests tie rakhis around the wrists of congregation members.
- Rakhis are shared between close friends.
- Rakhis are tied around the wrists of soldiers.
Before the ceremony, the sister collects several items needed for the ritual including rakhi threads, kumkum powder, rice, diya (a lamp used in rituals), incense sticks and sweets. With these, the family makes offerings to their deities and then, as she ties the Rakhi around her brothers’ wrist, the sister chants a traditional prayer and marks his forehead with kumkum powder.
Once she has tied the Rhaki, it is traditional for the sister to feed her brothers sweets and the brother will present her with a gift.
This year Raksha Bandhan will fall on Monday, 3rd August, 2020