Raksha Bandhan: A festival of Love and Care

Raksha Bandhan: A festival of Love and Care

The Genesis

The exact date of starting of this festival is not known, but it is embedded into the Indian culture. India is a land of festivals where people like to share their joys with each other. During the time after Baisakhi in April and before Raksha Bandhan in August, there is a lull due to scorching heat. However, as the month of Shravan starts, there is happiness all around as the rain provides much needed water to the crops and India has been an agriculture dominated nation since ages. After the local Teej festival observed mainly in northern India, Raksha Bandhan is the main festival with which the array of festivals start till April next year. The reason for this festival could be that the farmers are happy with their cash crops and have money to spend. So they share their joy with family. This is the time to remember sisters who have been married off to other far off villages, states etc as the son was considered to be holding the pagri (responsibility of the house and it’s members) and remained the sole owner of the property and fields. It’s the time to renew the bond of love and care among brothers and sisters and enjoy their togetherness. This is the time to reassure sisters that their brother is standing with them, come what may.

 

The Meaning

Raksha means to take care/ protect and Bandhan means bond. So, Raksha Bandhan implies a bond of protection and care (between brother and sister) in the form of rakhi or string or bracelet tied by the sister on the wrist of her brother. During the rituals, different verses are sung by the elders. Punjabi community uses the following verse while tieing the Rakhi:

Sooraj chhadiyan rasan mooli chhadya beej, behen bandhe rakhdi, te veera jug jug jee”

meaning; the sun has left it’s rays and raddish has developed seeds, sister ties rakhi (and wishes), long live brother.

The Tradition

As per the tradition the married sisters visit their paternal house to tie an amulet called Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers. In old days, they used to come a few days in advance to enjoy with their brothers and parents. But now a days most visits are made just for one day only. Whatever may be their stay, all brothers, sisters, their parents and their kids enjoy this festival too much. The Raksha Bandhan falls on the poornima of Shravan month, which is considered auspicious day otherwise as well being the full moon day. On Raksha Bandhan, the sisters make their Thali (tray) ready with jyoti (lamp with burning cotton batti in deshi ghee), kumkum, rice, mauli, Rakhi and sweets. The brothers on the other hand get dressed up well and keep money or gift ready for sisters as a token of love. During the ceremony, both of them cover their heads with dupatta or handkerchief and sit at a common place with all family members. First, the sister applies kumkum (which has been blended with little water to make a paste), then adds a pinch of rice over it. Then, she ties the Rakhi on her brother’s wrist of right hand. She then offers sweets to him affectionately with her own hand. The brother in turn gives her a bite into the sweets with his own hand and offers her the money or gift he brought for her. He then touches her feet and take her blessings. In some areas, if the sister is younger, she touches the feet of her brother to take his blessings as her saviour. The duo then take the blessings of their elders present there and offer sweets to everyone. After this, they enjoy their time together, Joke, sing & dance, recall their old childhood days. They renew their bond of love and care and share their sorrows and happiness.

Significance of Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan brings sisters and brothers together as they are the best buddies who can share their challenges with each other. As the parents get old and the household affairs are looked after by son’s, the sisters find a listening ear in their brothers. It has special significance for girls as this is the only time when they can visit their ancestral house freely. Normally all other festivals are celebrated at their in-law house only. During this time, the sisters get to know about the welfare of their parents as well. This time is also good to have one on one talk with brothers without any interference from brothers’ wives as their wives would also had gone to their paternal house. The brothers and sisters might have fought a lot during childhood, but as they grow up and take charge of their lives, they understand the importance of each other and this festival endorses their bond of love and care. In today’s world of nuclear families, this festival provides warmth to the relationship among brothers and sisters. Even if there is no blood relation, a girl can tie rakhi knot to anyone and announce him her brother. And such brother honours the faith shown by the girl and takes care of her. This festival shows the importance given to sisters in Indian Culture.

Raksha Bandhan in History

It is believed that during the time of Mahabharata, Draupadi once tied her dupatta on the wrist of Lord Krishna and he promised to protect her. When Dushasana tried to pull Draupadi’s sari after the debacle of Yudhishthira, Shri Krishna kept extending her sari till Dushasana got exhausted and thus saved her reputation.

Raksha Bandhan in Movies

Raksha Bandhan has been given a lot of importance in indian movies specially in Bollywood. New family movies are released on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan every year. The love and affection of brothers and sisters is also conveyed through bollywood songs. Some of the famous songs list includes the following:

  1. Phoolon ka taaron ka sabka kehna he   Video 
  2. Bhaiya more Rakhi ke bandhan ko nibhana  Video
  3. Ab ke baras bhej bhaiya ko Babul  Video
  4. Behna ne bhai ki kalai se pyaar baandha he  Video
  5. Mere bhaiya mere chanda mere anmol ratan  Video
  6. Dekh sakta hoon main kuchh bhi hote huye  Video
  7. Chanda re mere bhaiya se kehna behna yaad kare  Video
  8. Rang birangi rakhi leke aayee behna, rakhi bandhwale mere veer  Video
  9. Hum behenon ke liye mere bhaiya aata he ek din saal mein  Video
  10. Bandha hua ek ek dhaage mein bhai behan ka pyaar, rakhi dhaagon ka tyohar  Video

Conclusion

We might have been influenced by the western culture in celebrating Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Daughter’s Day and what not but we still believe that our Sister’s Day aka Raksha Bandhan is supreme and celebrates the affection and concern among the siblings.

By

RS Shandilya

29 Jul 2021