Raksha Bandha - the sacred thread that ties Indian traditions together

Published: 03rd April 2012
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Roughly translated, Rakhi means the bond of protection. There seems to be no better way to express brotherly love than to let your sister know youíll be around for her when she needs you to defend her and care for her. In tying this sacred thread around her brotherís wrist each year, every sister feels assured of her brotherís care and love and thus the pact of protection is renewed. Raksha Bandhan goes further still, and also solemnizes the beautiful bond shared by the siblings. Each Rakhi is a demonstration of a sisterís trust in her brother and is a way of reminding him that she keeps him in her prayers year round.

While Rakhiís uniqueness can be attributed to the fact that no other festival in the world celebrates the brother-sister bond with such fervor, what really makes the festival a grand occasion is that this is one rare festival that overcomes geographical boundaries in India and is celebrated in North and South, East and West, which is a rare things, in a diverse country like India.

Today, when you tie this sacred thread on the wrist of your neighbor or your close friends, the message you send across is, ďI believe in harmonious living where I can rely on you for support and safety, and you in turn can do so with me.Ē In a country as diverse and religiously-driven as India, the ability of a festival to be able to send across this strong a message across communities is an unquestionably wonderful phenomenon. While the practice of tying Rakhis on the wrists of friends and neighbors was made popular by Rabindranath Tagore, Bengalís Nobel laureate, the festival goes way back in history where there are recorded instances of how kingdoms were won or united and wars averted simply because a Rajput princess tied this holy thread on the wrist of a Mughal emperor. In fact, history has it that the mighty Hindu ruler Porus did not attack Alexander the Great as planned because Alexanderís wife tied a Rakhi on his wrist and urged him not to hurt her husband.

History aside, Rakhi has its roots in Indian mythology too where this holy thread empowered Gods and Goddesses to vanquish evil. Legend has it that once, when Lord Indra was almost losing to the demons, he sought his Guruís blessings, who advised him to tie a sacred thread on the full moon day of Shravan. Indraís wife tied the thread on his wrist on this auspicious day. The Lord went on to defeat the demons and thus good triumphed over evil. All Indian traditions always outline the fact that good wins over evil and Rakhi too underscores this.

The festival falls on the first full moon of the Hindu calendar month of Shravan. The auspiciousness of the festival makes this full-moon night doubly special. Although in terms of cuisine thereís nothing special that is made on this day (which is surprising because all Indian festivals have their specialties) Indian Mithai is almost a must have. The sister performs a simple puja at home before tying the sacred thread and itís typical for the family to be around when the ceremony is on. The brother in turn has to give a gift to his sister as a token of his gratitude. This gifts can be anything from a warm hug to a diamond! This festival has such importance that even if oneís brother is overseas or out of station, the sister posts their Rakhis much in advance to ensure the brother doesnít feel left out on the sacred day. In fact, this is one festival where all the couriers / posts reach on or before the occasion!

Festivals like Rakhi are what make India a grander and livelier country. They also remind Indians that traditions are bonds that bind and not fences that separate.


GujaratGifts.com is one of Indiaís oldest and leading websites to Send Rakhi to India online. The site site allows Indians all over the world to send Rakhi Gifts to all corners of the country. Easy online payments via Credit Cards or Netbanking, and robust logistics via Blue Dart / Indian Post ensures that the Rakhis reach with emotions intact, on time. This year Rakhi is on the 2nd of August 2012.

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