Raksha Bandhan – Long Essay 1.
Raksha Bandhan, also called Rakhi Festival, is symbolic of the Brother-Sister relationship in the Indian Subcontinent. It is a celebration of the Brother-Sister relationship, focusing on the bond that they share despite the various differences.
This festival is very much unique to the Hindu tradition and emerges from the collective nature of Asian societies that give importance to family and relationships over the individual.
The word “Raksha Bandhan” in Sanskrit roughly translates to a protective bond or tie. It involves the tying of the Rakhi by the sister to the brother who in return gifts his sister. It is primarily celebrated in the North and North-Western parts of India.
The word can be split into two parts- “Raksha” and “bandhan”. Raksha roughly translates into “to protect” pointing at the protection aspect of the sibling relationship. The term “Bandhan” refers to “to tie” indicating the practise of tying a Rakhi. The sister on the day of Raksha Bandha ties a Rakhi on the hand of her brother, symbolically to protect her brother who always protects her. In return for tying the Rakhi, the brother gifts his sister. This is a symbolic celebration of the sibling bond between the brother and sister.
When do we celebrate Raksha Bandhan?
RakshaBandhan is celebrated on the full moon day of the lunar calendar month of Shrawan. The dates according to the Georgian calendar differ but it generally falls in the month of August. In the coming 2019, it is expected to fall on the 15th of August. In various parts of India, it is celebrated in different names and with other festivals depending on the legends associated with it.
In Orissa and West Bengal, it is celebrated as Jhulan Purnima with hope of good relationships in the coming year by celebrating Lord Krishna and Radha. The fisher folk of Maharashtra celebrate it as Narali Poornima where they offer coconuts for Lord Varuna. In the northern parts of India, it’s celebrated by flying kites. While in Haryana, it’s celebrated as Salono, where priests tie amulets in the hands of devotees to protect them from evil spirits. The practises are diverse across the breadth of the nation.
Mythology behind Raksha Bandhan
There are various mythological tales that explain the origin of Raksha Bandhan. The most popular of this is based on the bond between Krishna and Draupadi. The tale states that on the day of Makar Shankranthi, Lord Krishna cuts his finger while cutting sugarcane. His Queen Rukmini orders the guards to get medicine for Lord Krishna’s wound. In the meantime, Draupadi takes a piece of cloth from her saree and wraps his wound. In return for gesture, Lord Krishna promises to protect her and does so when she is disrobed in the court by the Kouravas. Based on this mythological tale, the practise of tying a Rakhi to one’s brother to protect him and in return for his protection emerged.
What is a Rakhi?
The Rakhi is a cotton bracelet made of a thread and decorative ornamentation in the middle. It is often tied by a woman in the hands of their brother or someone they consider a brother. It is considered a protective charm and a symbol of respect. This is done in recognition of the brother’s protection. The sister wishes safety and protection for her brother who protects her after her father and after she leaves the house following marriage. It is an important part of Raksha Bandhan.
What do you do on Raksha Bandhan?
The practise of Raksha Bandhan was primarily restricted to North India. The brother of the girl acts as a link between her and her maternal family. Prior to Raksha Bandhan, he visits her and brings her back home. She stays there for a few days and celebrates Raksha Bandhan with her brother and returns back to her husband’s house. It was practised to keep the relationship between the brother and sister active as he is the link between her and her parents.
However, in the urban cities nuclear families have emerged yet the practise thrives. It is, like any other Indian festival, an occasion for gathering and celebrating. Siblings meet each other and the sisters ties Rakhi to their brothers and exchange gifts and sweets. It has crossed religious and caste boundaries and has come to pervade into voluntary relationships where the Rakhi is a symbol of brotherhood and sisterhood.
Yet another practise prevalent in Jainism is where the priests give sacred thread to devotees. They ties amulets, charms and threads on the hands of their patrons. These are considered to be protective charms and they receive gifts from them in exchange. Similarly, they also change their sacred threads on this auspicious day. Though this practise has declined since the mid-20th century, it still continues to exist amongst a few communities.
Raksha Bandhan is a celebration of the unique bond between a brother and sister. It is no longer just a celebration of blood relations but has become a means to recognise and celebrate voluntary relationships. There are various mythological tales associated with this practise and a variety of diverse practises. It stands the test of time as one of the most unique and secular aspects of the Hindu culture and the Indian society in general.
By Swetha (2019)
Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi Festival) – Short Essay 2.
In Sanskrit, the word “Raksha Bandhan” literally means “the Tie of Protection” or “the Knot of Protection”. It is the ancient festivals of the Hindus mainly observed in the Indian sub-continent. It is celebrated to express the love between the brothers and sisters.
Sisters tie a knot on the wrist of their brothers and perform the Rakhi ceremony. Then, sisters make prayers for the health and for the long-life of their brother. Brothers, in turn, in give them some gifts and sweets and make vows to protect their sisters under any circumstances.
Rakhi ceremony is observed on the Full Moon Day, also known as Purnima Day, in the month of Sravana which falls in the month of August of every year.
Raksha Bandhan is also known as in many parts of India as Rakhi Purnima or Rakhi. Mainly, Hindu brothers and sisters celebrate this festival, but it is also observed by Jain and Sikhs. This festival represents or signifies the love and the duty between brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters are supposed to be in position to demand anything from their brothers. When a girl ties a rakhi on the wrist of a man, he gets the rare privilege of acting the part of her brother.
Now-a day, girls tie a Rakhi band not only to her biologically related brothers, also cousins and others men whom she treats as her brother. Rakhi festival celebration is an occasion of fun and enjoyment because the family comes together and lot of tasty dishes and sweets are prepared.
Rakhi festival has a lot of significance in Indian culture. It is being celebrated since ancient times with special emotions of love. During past times, the Queens used to send the sacred threads of rakhi to their neighbouring rulers as a symbol of brotherhood.
By Teamwork (2018)