The festival of Rakhi signifies and encompasses the warmth shared by siblings, especially the special bond shared by the sister and the brother. Now the spectrum of the festival of Rakhihas gone way beyond this as many people tie rakhi even to their neighbors and close friends just as a significance of peacefulness and prosperity of every individual.
The festival of Rakhi, however, has been popularized by Rabindranath Tagore in an attempt to promote the feeling of unity and commitment of the society towards their fellow brothers and also to encourage social life. However, in today’s time, the entire perspective and outlook towards this festival has changed completely where the festival signifies a life-time pledge for practicing moral, cultural and spiritual values. The festival promotes harmony and peaceful existence by fellow men towards righteousness and destroyer of all sins. This festival even binds the family together in an emotional bond of love.
Traditions and customs
Raksha Bandhan celebrates the sacred bond of love and affection shared by siblings along with a lot of verve. On this day, brothers and sisters express their deep emotions, love and affection for each other.
On the day of this festival, the sister ties the sacred thread, called rakhi, around her brother’s wrist and they both make a promise to God for each other’s well being. The sister puts a ‘tilak’ on her brother’s forehead and even performs ‘aarti’ for her brother while the brother promises to take care of his sister under all circumstances and in all odds. As a token of love, the brother gets a gift for his sister to solicit the occasion with great devotion.
Preparation of the festival
On this auspicious festivity day, each member of the family gets ready early in the morning for performing the rituals. The mind and body is purified by taking a bath, before commencing the preparations. The sisters prepare the ‘puja thali’ with roli, tilak, Rakhi threads, incense sticks, diva and sweets in it. At first the rituals are offered to the deities of the family and then the sisters perform aarti for the brothers and tie Rakhi on their wrists and even make them have sweets. Kumkum powder is applied on their forehead and sweets are offered along with the chanting of the mantras: "Surajshakhanchhodian, Moolichhodiabeej Behen ne rakhibandhi / Bhaituchir jug jee." The meaning of this mantra is that ‘The sun radiates its sunlight, the radish spreads its seeds, I tie the rakhi to you O brother and wish that you may live long.’
The sister, having wished a long life for her brother, then ties the sacred thread on his wrist and chants the mantra:
"YenabaddhoBaleeraajaadaanavendromahaabalah tenatwaamanubadhnaamirakshemaachalamaachala." This means, “I tie this rakhi to you, which was tied to king Bali, the king of demons, O rakhi I pray that you never falter in protecting your devotee.
As for the brothers, they pamper their sisters, bless them and promise to protect them from all evils of the world. They even get gifts for them as a token of their love for their beloved sister.