The festival of Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is celebrated with the name of Rakhi Purnima in the northern and north-western parts of India with traditional gaiety and fervor.
Rakhi Purnima is just the other name for the more generic name of Rakhi for the Raksha Bandhan festival. It bears different names, rituals and customs in different parts of the country and outside.
On the occasion of Rakhi Purnima, sisters tie a sacred thread around the wrists of their brothers and pray for their long life, well-being and prosperity. This holy thread is called Rakhi – the bond of love protection.
In our ancient writings and scriptures, the celebration of Raksha Bandhan and act of tying Rakhi on brother’s wrists by sisters has been described as –
- ‘Punya Pradayak’ (one which bestows boons),
- ‘Vish Tarak’ (one which destroys venom) and
- ‘Pap Nashak’ (one which destroys sins).
Here is how the festival of Raksha Bandhan is performed with the traditional procedures –
- On the day of Raksha Bandhan, sister and brother usually takes a very early bath and get ready for the Raksha Bandhan celebration.
- Raksha Bandhan celebration is the first activity for the day. They generally do not eat anything before the celebration of Raksha Bandhan.
- If a sister has more than one brothers, she generally takes turns performing Raksha Bandhan to one brother, followed by the other ones.
- First the Puja (worshipping of God) takes place. Both sister and brother remember and thank God for providing such a loving sibling.
- Then, the sister performs “Aarti” to her brother. It is performed with the intention of bringing upon the blessings of God on her brother. All these rituals are accompanied by chanting of “mantras” (sacred hymns).
- Next, sister puts “Tilak” on her brother’s forehead. This is usually done as a mark of respect for him.
- This is followed by tying of Rakhi to her brother’s right hand wrist.
- Both sister and brother, then offers sweets to each other as a mark of love.
- Brother generally gives Rakhi gifts to their sister at this point.
Although Rakhi Purnima or Raksha Bandhan is celebrated throughout India in various flavors and forms, one thing is common between all these different forms of celebrations – feeling of love and care between brothers and sisters.