Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi festival, is a celebration of brotherhood and love between siblings. Though this festival is basically most popular in North India, almost all sisters and brothers across the country participate in this celebration of emotions with full spirit and enthusiasm. On the Raksha Bandhan day, the sister ties the sacred thread Rakhi on her brother’s wrist and they pray for the welfare of each other. After performing ‘aarti’ the sister applies tilak on his brother’s forehead and the brother, in return, pledges to protect his sister under all situations. To mark this memorable occasion, the brother gives some thoughtful gifts to his sister. The merriment and rituals involved in the celebration are incomparable.
Preparation for the Festival:
Preparations of delicious sweets and elegant Rakhis begin several days before Shravana Purnima. On the Raksha Bandhan day, members of the family purify themselves by taking bath early in the morning. Then the sisters prepare puja thali. The thali usually consists of Rakhi threads, tilak, rice grains, incense sticks, diyas and sweets. Sisters offer rituals to the family deities and then they perform aarti puja of their brothers and tie the sacred Rakhi on their wrists. Then, they apply tilak on the foreheads of their brothers and offer them sweets.
Following prayer is chanted during the rituals:
“Suraj shakhan chhodian, Mooli chhodia beej
Behen ne rakhi bandhi / Bhai tu chir jug jee”,
“The sun radiates its sunlight, the radish spreads its seeds,
I tie the Rakhi to you O brother and wish that may you live long.”
After praying for his long life, the following prayer is chanted while tying the Rakhi:
“Yena baddho Balee raajaa daanavendro mahaabalah
tena twaam anubadhnaami rakshe maa chala maa chala”
” I tie you the Rakhi that was tied to king Bali, the king of Demons,
O Rakhi I pray that you never falter in protecting your devotee”.
After that the brothers bless their sisters and promise to protect them from all evils and at all circumstances. Brothers also give a gift to their sisters as a token of their love. The rituals may vary in different places but they have the same spirit and feelings everywhere.