As the auspicious of Raksha Bandhan draws closer, markets have begun teaming with stalls offering beautiful rakhis and gift sets for all the brothers and sisters, all set to celebrate the festival. Mythology and history have numerous stories that are attributed to being the origin of Rakhi. Despite the number of origin stories, and the different ways of celebration followed across the nation, the one thing that remains constant is the fact that Rakhi is a celebration of the love between sisters and brothers.
These days, with numerous geographical constraints among sisters and their brothers, the practice to send rakhis online has taken hold. However, whenever one has a chance to celebrate this festival with their family, they should. A traditional rakhi celebration can be a great chance to strengthen the bond between siblings or cousins, and is also an excuse to meet up and make merry. Here are the 7 aspects of a traditional rakhi celebration:
1. Bathing Before the Ceremony
Though bathing is something that we must do every day, regardless of celebrations; bathing does tend to have special significance on days of celebrations. More than a cleaning exercise, it is a cleansing ritual that signifies purifying the body before starting anything auspicious. Ideally the bath should be taken before sunrise, but this tradition has been relaxed quite a bit.
2. The Rakhi Pooja
The thali (plate) for rakhi should be prepared with all the rakhis placed on it. A pooja is performed to the ancestors to bless the occasion.
3. The Rakhi
Sisters tie rakhis to their brother’s wrist. While some people also recite mantras during the tying, some just wish for the well-being of their brothers.
4. Roli Chawal
Next, the sisters use roli to apply a tilak on their brother’s forehead, with unbroken grains of rice, or chawal. This practice is an auspicious one and is also said to help concentrate one’s innate energy.
From the pooja thali, the sister now feeds the brother sweets, and the brother in turn feeds the sister as well. During the pooja, a small piece of the sweet is offered to the gods, making the rest of the sweet like a blessing from the gods to us.
After this, the pooja thali, which also has a burning diya or incense sticks is used to do aarti of the brothers, by moving the thali in a circular manner in front of their faces, seven times. This is supposed to rid the brothers of the evil eye, or any bad intentions someone might have for them.
Many people tend to keep a fast until the rituals of rakhi are finished. The significance of a fast is of one giving up greed and gluttony for a more spiritual day, where one feels closer to god. To lend a spirit of spirituality and purity to the ritual, a lot of people fast this day.
While traditional rakhi celebrations are as fun as they can be, sometimes it just isn’t possible for brothers and sisters to get together to celebrate this day. Sisters could of course send a rakhi online to their brother and brothers can always send gifts via online delivery to their sisters, and keep the magic of Rakhi alive.