TIES THAT BIND
On the 21st of August 2013, the festival of Raksha Bandhan will be celebrated primarily in India, Nepal, Mauritius and even parts of Pakistan. Raksha Bandhan a Hindu festival which means the bond of protection celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters.
The sister ties a Rakhi, which is a sacred thread on the wrist of her brother; this symbolizes her love for him. In turn the brother offers a gift to his sister and vows to protect her for life.
Traditionally Hindu families begin their preparation by taking a bath in the morning, to purify both the body and mind. A puja ‘Thali’ (plate) is prepared, consisting of ‘Roli’ (red paste), rice, rakhi’s (sacred threads), Diya’s (small oil lamps), aggarbattis (incense) and sweets. After the traditional Rituals are performed the sister ties a rakhi on the wrist of her brother while chanting a scared mantra. The brother in return promises to protect his sister from all evil and danger, and offers her gifts.
The siblings spend time together after the ritual is over. Sisters also prepare sweets and snacks for their brothers. The opportunity to spend quality time with each other is something that all brothers and sisters look forward to, unfortunately all siblings aren’t that fortunate. If they aren’t able to meet on Raksha Bandhan, they talk to each other over the phone, send messages and cards, expressing their love and affection.
Even though the festival celebrates the bond between siblings, the ritual of tying a rakhi is not only confined to a brother and a sister and Rakhi’s can also be tied on the wrists of close friends and neighbors; thereby promoting unity and harmony among members of society.