The Hindu calendar contains many festivals, and one of the most celebrated days is the festival of Raksha Bandhan (the pledge of protection) – known as Rakhi in Hindi, Raksha Bandhan in Marathi, and Rakhi Purnima in Bengali. It is a festival that acknowledges the special bond between a brother and sister and celebrates the renewal of the vows of love, care, and protection.
The beauty of the tradition of Raksha Bandhan extends to whosoever wants to acknowledge this relationship. It is celebrated between cousins as well as mooh bola bhai-behen (sworn brother and sister). This festival is celebrated on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Shravana and according to the English calendar falls in the month of August.
In 2013, Raksha Bandhan is Wednesday 21 August. On the day of Raksha Bandhan, both the brother and sister wear traditional dress, pray before God, and then perform the ceremony. The sister prepares a thali (plate) that has a diya (oil lamp), kumkum (vermillion – to be applied on the forehead), rice, sweets, and rakhi (colourful thread or ribbon). Sister first performs the aarti, ties the rakhi on her brother’s wrist, and then feeds the brother the sweets, symbolizing the sweetness of the relationship.
Before this festival, shops across the country can be seen showcasing myriad Rakhis and greeting cards – but you can make your own Rakhi and greeting cards with Surf Excel’s help! Just click on the links to find out more.
Picture by Vishal Dutta
Raksha Bandhan Messages
In order to make this day special, parents can work with the children to create homemade rakhis and cards that include Raksha Bandhan messages and Raksha Bandhan quotes.
You can ask your children to write down a couplet or a few sentences that they will read out to each other after the ceremony. Having such a tradition can help make children understand the poignancy and value of this festival. The messages can be as simple as the following:
As we grow up, we act like we don't care, But it is just an act, For I know you will always be there, Love you, brother/sister dear.
We fight for the smallest of reasons. We laugh on the silliest of jokes, We love stepping on each other's toes. We watch the same Sunday shows, This list for me is never-ending. My darling brother, you are my favourite blessing.
You are there for me during happiness and joy You are there for me in every walk of life You are there for me in the toughest times To hold my hand during the darkest days To share my smiles and tears Happy Raksha Bandhan, brother dear!
Raksha Bandhan Wishes For Cousins
We Indians have big families, and Raksha Bandhan is eagerly celebrated by cousin brothers and sisters, too. Days before Raksha Bandhan are filled with shopping for Rakhis, greeting cards, and stamps to post them. To make this day more special and personal, sisters can create handmade greeting cards with Raksha Bandhan wishes to accompany the rakhis being sent to their cousin brothers.
You, my brother, are a friend that God gave me, On this day of Rakhi, you are sorely missed by me. Love & Wishes of Raksha Bandhan
My dearest brother, it is the day of Raksha Bandhan, This Rakhi carries all the love and good moments we shared, To remind you that this bond will not be broken, And my prayers that God blesses you with good health & prosperity Happy Raksha Bandhan
My brother is Miles away, Where I cannot see his smile, Where I cannot laugh with him, Where I cannot hold him in my arms, Yet he is ever in my thoughts and smiles Happy Rakhi, my dearest brother! Use your positive energy, creativity and imagination to make the day of Raksha Bandhan special for your family!
What is your favourite Raksha Bandhan quote? Please share it with us in the comments!