Raksha Bandhan is ideally celebrated to mark the bond shared between a brother and a sister. It is a promise of eternal protection by the brother towards his sister. Though the context remains the same, however, over the years tying rakhi is not limited to a brother only. Brothers tend to tie rakhi to their sisters, or sisters have tied rakhis to their older sisters or rakhis have been tied to a member of their family who have been looked upon as protectors or who have played a significant role in one’s lives. The band is a symbolic of the relation.
Rakhi is derived from the Sanskrit term rakṣikā – a join or rakṣā protection, amulet.
History of Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan dates back to the times of Mahabharata. It is said that when Lord Krishna had by accident injured his finger with the Sudarshan Chakra, Draupadi, the wife of Pandavas was moved by looking at his pain and instantly tore a piece of her saree and wrapped it to Lord Krishna’s bleeding finger to stop the flow of the blood. Lord Krishna was extremely overwhelmed by this gesture and in return vowed to protect her from all the evils. He termed act of tying the fabric as Raksha Sutra. And as is known when the Kauravas tried to disrobe Draupadi in their court, Lord Krishna increased the length of the saree so that she would be saved from the shame of being dishonoured. This is how Draupadi was saved as was promised by her brother.
How is it celebrated?
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated with fervor in India. It is a day where there is revelry among siblings with some banter and leg-pulling surrounded by the entire family. Before the D-day, there is a frenzy to buy the perfect rakhi for the elder siblings or loved ones. The markets are flooded with some varied rakhi designs that makes it extremely difficult to make a choice. Apart from looking out for the perfect rakhi apart from the perfect outfit to be adorned for the occasion.
On the day of Raksha Bandhan, sisters rise up early, get ready and offer prayers to God. The Rakhi ceremony is typically carried out during the auspicious day of Aparhna or Pardosh on the day of Rakhi Purnima or Raksha Bandhan. Post the Puja, the sisters decorate the aarti thaal and perform the aarti of their brothers, apply kumkum and rice on their foreheads, tie Rakhi around their brother’s wrists and pray for their well-being. They then feed their brother/sister/family member with sweets. The brothers in return gift their sister/s with either money or a present which is a symbolic promise of protection.
Types of rakhis
The days of simplistic rakhis are far gone. The markets nowadays are thronged with different types of rakhis. One can find designer rakhis or the ones with cartoon characters to appeal to the younger ones etc. These types of rakhis have come to replace the traditional rakhis and here are some of the examples:
On Raksha Bandhan, the stone encrusted rakhis is a staple. Though stones are mostly found on accessories they are now being included on Rakhis. They have become a favourite and much sought-after. The combination of transparent colorful stones makes for a dazzling combination.
These rakhis are come in several sizes and shapes. Apart from the central design, the strings are also embellished.
Zardosi Rakhi is among prevalent designer rakhis. The intricately detailed rakhi is made of zari. It sparkles and provides a brilliant touch to the traditional rakhis. They are one of the most popular modern rakhis. Zardosi rakhis are available in a large variety of colours, sizes, and shapes.
Cartoons appeal to the younger lot. The cartoon rakhis are a befitting design for siblings who cannot get over their love of animated characters. This trend has caught on with rakhi manufacturers too who have introduced cartoon rakhis into the market. Since rakhi has to be worn for a couple of days the younger siblings will be more than willing to wear it knowing that their favourite character is tied to their wrist.
The Swastik represents good luck, fortune and prosperity. What a better way of blessing and praying for best wishes than the Swastik Rakhi to shower one’s sibling with love and affection.
The Kundan Rakhi is made of a number of gemstones that lends it a gleaming look that are fashioned with a shiny base metal. It is fashionable and yet subtle.
This fancy type of rakhi is a flamboyant choice. Bracelet Rakhis are hip and with a number of designs that are available it can create a unique style statement. They are available in gold plated, silver plated or also offered in leather strap as well.
Pearl Rakhis are either made of different types of pearl beads or a single pearl, depending on the type of design. It comes in wide-ranging patterns and also with colourful pearls. The pearl rakhis can be found as beads and pearls Rakhi, stone encrusted pearl Rakhi etc. the choices are endless.
Couple Rakhi or set of Bhaiya Bhabhi Rakhi (Brother and sister-in-law) consists of two Rakhis. These are identical in design.
Like every Indian festival, Raksha Bandhan too is celebrated with gusto. The Rakhis are a way of reminding one’s older sibling of one’s gratefulness of their presence in their lives. Though there is a lot of teasing and fun, it is also a time of saying it, as subtly as possible for the moments left unsaid especially as an expression of love.
Raksha Bandhan is a time for sisters/brothers to go a little overboard with the kind of designs available in the market. Apart from the simple rakhi designs, designer rakhis are more decorated and provide variety than the traditional styles. Rakhis is also worn to make a fashion statement by wearing it as a fashion accessory. Designer rakhis for women have a very feminine allure and charm, made with materials that go with female clothing. The elements of jewellery design can come in handy to craft delicate or elaborate rakhis. Learn all about jewellery designing by enrolling in the 1-year Diploma in Fine Jewellery Design at JD Institute of Fashion Technology at one of the best jewellery designing colleges in Bangalore.