It’s time of the year again where all brothers and sisters are extremely busy. Brothers, trying to find the perfect gift for their sweet sister and sisters finding or making an ideal Rakhi and waiting for presents. We’ve all celebrated this festival for years and years. As a kid, we waited for it for the gifts and the delicacies.
Getting all grown up now, it’s about going home and spending time with family. Ever wondered why we celebrate Rakhi? What is it all about? When do we celebrate it? What are the legends associated with it? This little girl tying Rakhi to her brother also wondered of all this. Listen to their convo and find out all you wanna know about Rakhi.
“Bhai, why do I have to tie a thread to your wrist?”
“You have to, as we are celebrating Raksha Bandhan. On this day, you prepare a Rakhi thali or the Pooja Ki Thali with the Tilak, Diya, Sweets, and Rakhi. Then you apply tilak on my forehead and tie this Rakhi on my wrist. After that, you feed me sweets and I give you gifts.”
“Rakhi? But what is the significance of Rakhi?”
“Significance? Well, the main concept of rakhi is protection. The word Raksha means protection, and Bandhan is a verb to tie. Just like the thread that priest tied on our wrist yesterday that was also for protection. It is not necessarythat you tie Rakhi only to your blood-related Bhai. You can find any boy and adopt him as your brother by tying a Rakhi. This ritual transcends the boundaries of the family and strengthens the bond of love.”
“Ok. So when is Rakhi celebrated?”
“We celebrate Rakhi on the full moon in the month of Shraavana in the Hindi lunar calendar.”
“Does this have any mythological reference also??”
“Yes. It does have mythological reference also. According to Bhavishya Purana, once Indra, the Kind of Devas was facing defeat at the hands of Vritra Ashura. So Deva Guru Brihaspati advised him to wear a Rakhi as a protection against enemies (demons). Accordingly, a “Madadiyu” a sacred thread was tied on the wrist of Indra. When Indra entered the battlefield with the “Madadiyu” tied on his wrist, the devil starts off to evolve to lose and lost the battle.
As per another mythological allusion, Rakhi was intended to be the worship of the sea-god Varuna. The offering of coconuts, ceremonial bathing, and fairs at waterfronts accompany this festival. Usually, fishermen offer coconut and Rakhi to the sea god Varuna- this festival is known as Nariyal Poornima.”
“Who tied the first Rakhi?”
“There are many tales as to who tied the first Rakhi. It is tough to pinpoint exactly when this joyous occasion originated.
This one comes from the battle between Alexander the Greek King, and Porus, the Hindu King. Wife of Alexander sent a sacred thread to Porus asking him not to kill her husband in the battle. In the battle when Porus was about the deliver the final blow he saw rakhi on his hand and restrained himself from attacking Alexander personally.
Then there is one of King Humayun and Queen Kamravati. It is said that the queen Amravati the queen of Chittoor had sent a rakhi to Humayun to protect her from Bahadur Shah. Humayun was engaged in the expedition against Bengal but returned as soon as he can but he was too late. Chittoor had already fallen the Rani had immolated herself as per the Rajput custom in Jauhar.”
“Does Rakhi have many names??”
“Yes. Rakhi is known by different names. Rakhi is known by many regional names as there are different regions and different languages. In north as well as west India, it is celebrated as “Rakhi Poornima”. In south India, it is often called ‘Avani Avittam’ or ‘Upakarmam’. In the Western Ghats, the festival is known as ‘Nariyal Poornima’. All of the central India celebrate the jubilant festival of Rakhi is celebrated as ‘Kajari Poornima’.
“Is Rakhi only tied to boys, don’t girls get Rakhi tied to their wrists?”
“Lumba Rakhi’ where one tie Rakhi on the wrist of their sister-in-law. This practice is done mostly in Rajasthan and in Gujarat. In some families which only have daughters, sisters often tie Rakhi on each other’s wrist too. Who says only brothers can protect you?”
“So, is Rakhi only celebrated our country?”
“No. although it is widely celebrated in India countries like Nepal, Mauritius as well as Hindu and Sikh community in Pakistan also celebrate it.”
“Is Rakhi celebrated only by Hindus?”
“No. Rakhi is a secular festival. It is celebrated by many other culture people also. Jain culture also has the tradition of tying the Rakhi. Jain priests give sacred threads to devotees. In Sikh, ‘Rakhadhi’ is important. In Nepal, Raksha Bandhan is known as ‘Janai Purnima’ or ‘Rishitarpani’, the ceremony of tying a rakhi is celebrated by both Hindus and Buddhists.”
“What is so special about Rakhi? We have so many different festivals? So why is Rakhi so special?”
“Rakhi is special because there are no boundaries when it comes to region or religion. It brings men and women together who may not be blood-related to feel like family. It promotes peace, harmony, love and care between individuals, irrespective of which region or religion you belong to.”
“How do you decided what kind of a gift you want to give to your sister?”
“Well, that is a tough question. We must put a lot of thought in getting you gifts. For example, if a person is to give a gift to his sister who is in college, then he can gift her a good dress or T-shirt or traditional dress like Anarkali or a makeup kit. If his sister is young kid, he can gift her chocolates, dresses or toys”
“Have Rakhi changed in years gone??”
“Yes. There are many changing trends in Rakhi. The way of celebrating Rakhi has changed with the change of time. But main traditional festivities remain same as they were years back.
There are numerous designs, shapes, and materials in which Rakhi is available. Few types of Rakhi include - cartoon, sandalwood, musical, floral, zari rakhi etc., however, still a simple thread Rakhi with stones/beads etc. is favorite of many brothers.
As Rakhi have such a huge variety so does the Rakhi thalis. People embellish these Rakhi thalis with roli-chawal, Rakhi threads, and flowers.”
“We get a message from every festival we celebrate, so, what is the message we get from Rakhi??”
“Rakhi conveys an intrinsic message of universal brotherhood and sisterhood. It conveys a message that has socio-spiritual significance underscoring the need for nurturing of positive qualities, purity in thought, word and deed. Raksha Bandhan symbolizes the unmatched bond of love, respect, and care.”
The most awaited festival for sisters is Rakhi. The joy of festivals lies in food, new clothes and getting dressed up. You can wear any kind of clothing you want on Rakhi there is no “compulsion” in wearing traditional for Rakhi."
Are you one of those sisters who dress up in a chilled out, laid back way? If yes then this look is for you. Wear any casual outfit, team it up with a neck-piece with multiple chains and voila! You are good to go for the Rakhi.
If you are the kind of sister who likes attention and making heads turn to look second time again and admire. This is the look for you. Wear modern look and be the talk of your cousins get together.
If you are among the people who think that traditional is the best. This is the look for you. With Anarkalis, Sarees, and Lehenga in so many different colors, patterns, textures, it gives you a huge variety to choose from along with your accessories.
If you are someone, who is always willing to try new things and new colors, prints, tassels, this is you! This look is for someone who is always willing to do experiments with their outfits, who want to try something fun, not for the ones who want something safe. Embrace your inner personality with these styles.
Know the festival you celebrate. Have a happy time buying gifts and making or buying Rakhis.