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Festivals are the celebration of togetherness the celebrations of being one of the family. Festival of Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is one such major occasion. It is the celebration of brothers and sisters.
It is one festival that primarily belongs to the North and Western regions of India but celebrated throughout the country with the same verve. Regional celebrations may be different but Raksha Bandhan has become an integral part of those customs.
Raksha Bandhan is known by different names in different states of India, by different communities. Raksha Bandhan significance also varies with the region. Raksha Bandhan has a different significance in southern and coastal regions. Rakhi Purnima is celebrated in the northern and north-western parts of India with a lot of zest and esprit.
Here, Raksha Bandhan is the celebration of the chaste bond of love between a brother and a sister. Raksha Bandhan is called Nariyal Purnima or coconut full moon in the Western Ghats that includes the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. Here Raksha Bandhan signifies the beginning of a new season for those dependent on sea.
The Raksha Bandhan day is called Shravani or Kajari Purnima in Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar. Raksha Bandhan, here is an important day for farmers and women who have sons. The Raksha Bandhan day is celebrated as Pavitropana in Gujarat. Raksha Bandhan is the day when people perform the grand pooja or the worship of the three eyed God, Lord Shiva.
It is the culmination of the prayers done throughout the year. As per the traditions, the sister on this day prepares the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal and rakhis. She worships the deities, ties Rakhi to the brother(s) and wishes for their well-being. The brother in turn acknowledges the love with a promise to be by the sisters’ side through the thick and thin and gives her a token gift.
The festival has been celebrated in the same way with the same traditions for centuries. Only the means have changed with the changing lifestyles. This is to make the celebrations more elaborate. Raksha Bandhan is primarily a North Indian festival kindling the deepest emotions of love and affection amongst the siblings. Just like all Indian festivals, this is also celebrated with lots of verve.
The sister ties the rakhi on the brother’s wrist and both pray for each other’s well being followed by a pledge from the brother to take care of his sister under all circumstances. The brother usually gifts something to die sister to mark the occasion.
Celebrated enveloped in the festiveness. The mirth that surrounds the festival is unsurpassed. Amidst the merriment the rituals are also followed with great devotion. The rakhis and the sweets are bought and prepared generally before the Purnima. As per the tradition the family members get ready for the rituals early. They take a bath to purify mind and body before starting any preparations.
The sisters prepare die thali for the pooja. It contains the rakhi threads, kumkurn powder, rice grains, diya (an earthen or a metal lamp used for worshiping), agarbattis (incense sticks) and sweets. The brother in turn blesses the sister and promises to protect her from the evils of the world. He gifts something to her as a token of his love and affection. The rituals may differ a little from region to region but generally carry the same aura.