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Viva Holidays Tours & Travels Pvt. Ltd. Raksha Bandhan
Rakshabandhan or Rakhi Festival is celebrated all over India with great enthusiasm and faith.There is a tradition of sisters tying the Rakhi or the sacred thread on brother's wrist while performing arti of brother and praying for his long life. Brothers' present Rakhi Gifts to their sister and promise to protect her always. This simple custom of Rakhi is being carried forward since ancient times.
Raksha Bandhan
Any festival in India is incomplete without the typical Indian festivities, the gatherings, celebrations, exchange of sweets and gifts, singing and dancing. Rakhi festival is the celebration of togetherness and love and trust between the family members specifically between the brothers and sisters. 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.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.

An Insight of Rakhi Rituals
On the day of Rakhi, sisters prepares the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal, rakhi thread and sweets. The ritual begins with a prayer in front of God, then the sister ties Rakhi to her brother and wishes for his happiness and well-being. In turn, the brother acknowledge the love with a promise to stand by his sister through all the good and bad times.

Sisters tie Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers amid chanting of mantras, put roli and rice on his forehead and pray for his well-being. She bestows him with gifts and blessings. In turn, brothers also wish her a good life and pledges to take care of her. He gives her a return gift. The gift symbolizes the physical acceptance of her love, reminder of their togetherness and his pledge. The legends and the reference in history repeated, the significance of the festival is emphasized.

Unconditional Bond of Love
Raksha bandhan has been celebrated in the same way with the same traditions for many years. Only the means have changed with the changing lifestyle to make the celebration more elaborate and lively. This day has an inherent power that pulls the siblings together. The increasing distances evoke the desire to be together even more. All brothers and sisters try to reach out to each other on this auspicious day. The joyous meeting, the rare family get-together, that erstwhile feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood calls for a massive celebration. For everyone, it is an opportunity to reunion and celebrate. People also share tasty dishes, wonderful sweets and exchange gifts. It is a time to share their past experiences also. For those who are not able to meet each other, rakhi cards and e-rakhis and rakhis through mails perform the part of communicating the rakhi messages. Hand made rakhis and self-made rakhi cards are just representation of the personal feelings of the siblings.

The Legends of Rakhi
The Shravana or the monsoon month carries all hues and shades of nature and emotions. Religiously speaking Shravan is a pious month and full moon of this all-important month is considered to be a very holy day. It is celebrated in different ways for different reasons almost throughout the country. For the siblings it is the eternal tie of love, for Brahmins the day to take the pledge of Brahmanik rites and for those who depend sea and monsoon, it is the beginning of the new season.

Indian festivals are based on the weather changes and their significance in the lives of people but they do have a story to support the celebrations. The rich Indian Mythology provides a religious reason to celebrate the day in a specific way. Many epics are related to the day and the origin of Raksha Bandhan. The festival finds a mention in most of the epics and its origin can be traced back to the mythological Pouranik times.

The Legend in the Bhavishya Purane
The legend refers to a war between the Gods and the Demons. The demon King Brutra was advancing and the Gods lead by lord Indra, were on verge of defeat. The king of Gods, Indra approached Guru Brihaspati to find a solution to the situation. Brihaspati asked Indra to tie a sacred thread on his wrist, powered by the sacred mantras on the Shravan Purnima. Lord Indra's Queen Sachi also called Indrani, empowered the thread and tied it on to his hand on the decided day. The power of the sacred thread called Raksha helped the Gods to victory. The tradition of thread tying still continues. It is a gesture of goodwill.

The Legend of King Bali and Goddess Laxmi
According to another legend Demon King Bali was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu had taken up the task to guard his kingdom leaving his own abode in Vaikunth. Goddess Laxmi wished to be with her lord back in her abode. She went to Bali disguised as a Brahmin woman to seek refuge till her husband came back.

During the Shravan Purnima celebrations, Laxmiji tied the sacred thread to the King. Upon being asked she revealed who she was and why she was there. The king was touched by her goodwill for his family and her purpose and requested the Lord to accompany her. He sacrificed all he had for the Lord and his devoted wife. Thus the festival is also called Baleva that is Bali Raja's devotion to the Lord.It is said that since then it has been a tradition to invite sisters in Shravan Purnima for the thread tying ceremony or the Raksha Bandhan

Rakhi Purnima
The festival is also known as Rakhi Purnima as it falls on the full moon day of the Hindu month 'Shravana'. The month of Shravana is the month of gods and pujans (worships) and the full moon day being the most important day of all. Rakhi Purnima is important in more than one way. Since, the festival is celebrated in many states, it is known with many names and rituals but the only thing that does not change is the prayer and pledge for the protection of siblings.

Different regions seems to have different belief behind and follow different rituals. In the Western Ghats, the rakhi is considered to be an offering to Lord Varuna - the Lord of the sea. Lord Varuna is offered Coconuts. On this day, coconuts are thrown into the sea as a ritual. Here, the festival of Rakhi is known as Nariyal Purnima, and it is also marked as the beginning of fishing season.

Avani Avittam in South India
In South India, Raksha Bandhan is called Avani Avittam. The festival is important for Brahmins. They first take a holy bath and then change their holy thread (Janeyu) amid chanting the mantras.

They take a pledge to perform the brahmanik duties as prescribed in the holy books and adopt a good conduct and dignity. The Janeyu is a representation of the vow for adherence to vedic culture, observance of Hindu traditions and service to humanity. The ceremony is called Shravani or Rishi Tarpan. All Brahmans celebrate it in the same way.

Kajari Purnima in North India
Kajari Purnima is the name by which the festival of Rakhi is known in North India. The festival is celebrated when wheat and barley are sown in this region. Goddess Bhagwati is worshiped and farmers seek her blessings for a good crops. The name Baleva signifies the might of King Bali and his devotion to lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. In Gujarat people offer water to the Shivalinga every Monday of the month.

On the Rakhi Purnima they offer water and pray to God for forgiveness. In one ceremony known as Pavitropana, a few twisted filaments of cotton are soaked in panchagaivya (mixture of cow's ghee, milk, curd, urine and excreta) and then fastened around a shivalinga. In Scriptures, Raksha Bandhan is described as 'Punya Pradayak' which means a day that bestows boons to the generous 'Vish Tarak' the destroyer of venom or the vicious 'Pap Nashak' the destroyer of sins.
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