Raksha Bandhan is celebrated throughout India and abroad by Indians with fervor. It is bond between sisters and brothers customarily renewed every year by tying Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) on this day. Raksha means protection and Bandhan means bond. As the name suggests, Raksha Bandhan is tied by sisters to remind their brothers that they are to be protected by them. The Rakhi festival is observed on this Rakhi purnima (full moon day).
The tradition is that sisters go to the places of their brothers and tie Rakhi to the right hand wrist of their brothers. Brothers get Rakhis tied from all of their sisters and all sisters tie to all of their brothers. Brothers celebrate it with sweets and honoring sisters with rewards as a token of happiness on the occasion.
Although it is just observed as a custom in India it really renews relations which are more related now to the present situation of busy life style in which everyone finds hardly any time to remember their sisters and brothers particularly after their marriages. That is where customs play a good role.
When the sisters and brothers meet after having their own small worlds after marriages, they get an opportunity to retrieve old memories out of the hard disks they carry in their minds. They can relive those old memories and exchange news of welfare of each other.
The custom also gives an opportunity to set right if any differences found in the married lives of sisters or brothers as it gives room for close understanding after they start living apart with their own family members.
Relations are called tie ups and it is done practically in India. The way sisters tie Rakhis to their brothers; Mangal Sutra is tied by the groom to the bride at the time of marriage. And afterwards their dangling ends of the garbs will be tied to make it a Brahma Mudi with which they perform seven rounds ritual around the sacred fire. In some areas tie ups are observed as a custom at devotional places to get their wish fulfilled by the deity. After some time when the wish gets fulfilled it will be unknotted again by them.
There are many stories how Rakhi festival started but the oldest of all is Krishna and Draupadi episode in Mahabharata. When Krishna gets wounded on his wrist, his sister Draupadi spontaneously tears a small strip from her silk sari and ties it on the wrist of Krishna to stop bleeding for which affectionate act and concern shown, Krishna gives her heaps of saries when Kauravas tried to damage her modesty in the public court of the king.
The full moon in the month of Sravana also is called Jandhyala purnima on which day Brahmins and people of other communities who wear sacred thread called Jandhyam change to a new one.
The festival is observed in Nepal in a different way. Elderly and seniors of the family tie the sacred thread on their wrists and they eat ‘Kwati’ which is a soup made of sprouts of different food grains.
Whatever may be the reason a bond between mankind is a need of the day particularly in the present times in which everything is getting digitized. Disitizing makes one calculative. Relations and sentiments lose their existence when everything gets reduced to figures that are digits. These customs are still making us remind that we are human beings with sentiments and bonds that are responsibilities which are integral part of a human being as a social animal.
Happy Raksha Bandhan !