Raksha Bandhan is one of the most important Hindu and Sikh festivals in the Indian calendar, that is celebrated traditionally in the month of August. This is a unique festival that signifies the eternal bond between a brother and a sister, that needs no introduction. Here in India and Nepal, this festival is celebrated with immense happiness and joy, with the sister tying a ceremonial thread, that has colorful motifs, on the hand (wrist) of this brother. The ceremonial thread signifies the unbreakable bond, and it is a religious belief that the thread forms a ‘protective’ cover that protects her brother from misfortune, calamities and ailments. This thread acts as a sign of prosperity for her brother, as she also applies a Tilak on the forehead of her brother. In return, as a gesture of appreciation and love, the brother presents gifts to her sister, which can be anything from a traditional Indian saree, salwar kameez, kurti, jewelry or simply hard cash (currency notes) of big denominations. Both the Hindus and Sikhs in India, Nepal and Bangladesh celebrate this traditional festival with immense passion and joy. The sister starts early morning preparations by taking an early morning shower, performing religious prayers and wearing new attires (purely ethnic), and the mother preparing local delicacies that are to be savored after the ritual or ceremony.
Fashion and Cuisine
The sister is in a traditional Indian attire, especially in a salwar kameez or in an Anarkali suit, that is colorful, and looks perfect for a festive occasion like “Rakhi”. It should preferably be a new dress, so as to ooze out a fresh feel. A Thali or a full round plate is prepared, with a traditional diya or a lamp, along with fresh flowers, sandalwood paste, sweets and the Rakhi, that is to be tied on the wrist of the brother. Elderly women of the family are in sarees, especially cotton and silk saris, that perfectly match the occasion. The beautiful prints, rich colors and the glitters on the attires of the women folk, brings about a festive feel and the ambiance is really joyous and cheerful. Next, comes the food and local delicacies that are prepared at home, and which is to be savored in the morning as breakfast and in the afternoon as lunch. Sweet dishes, kheer, poha, paneer, dahi vada, lentils, curry are prepared in every single home that has a brother and sister. In India, it is the Hindu and Sikh communities, that celebrates this festival with lots of enthusiasm. So, it’s a lively atmosphere that fills the air with happiness and joy. This is a festival that spreads the message of love and eternal bonding, that is hard to experience at any other ceremonial occasion.