Thursday, August 30, 2007

Raksha Bandhan

Significance : Brothers Protect their sisters from evil.
Also known as : Avani Avittam, Upakarman
In the month of : August - September

Raksha Bhandan is celebrated on the full-moon day in the month of Sravana (July-August). In North India, the occasion is popularly called Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi, the tying of an amulet. On this day, sisters tie an amulet, the Rakhi, around the right wrist of their brothers praying for their long life and happiness. Raksha means protection, and in some places in medieval India, where women felt unsafe, they tied Rakhi round the wrists of men they could count upon, regarding them as brothers.


R - Relationship

A - Affection

K - Knitting together

H - Him (Brother) & Her (Sister)

I - Interminably

The festival of Raksha Bandhan is similar to Karthikay in Kartika (October-November) in South India. On this day, sisters offer food to brothers to wish them a long life. The festival is an occassion to strengthen the bond between a brother and a sister. In South India, The Raksha Bandhan full moon day is a household festival for the men, where the sacred thread is ceremoniously changed.

Raksha Bandhan is based on an ancient legend. The legend goes that the gods were having a war with the demons. The god Indra got help from his wife. She tied a piece of silk around his wrist to ward off the evil demons. With the silk around his wrist, Indra beat back the devils and got back his home in the heavens. Today, Hindu girls with brothers give them special bracelets woven of silk (called rakhi) on this day.

The rakhi are made of red and gold thread. They are a symbol of the bond between brothers and sisters. When the sisters give their brothers the rakhis, they give them candy to eat as well. The brothers give their sisters little gifts in return.

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