In India, festivals are and always have been a time of togetherness and cherishing those moments of love and admiration for each other. They are quite essential and play a prominent role in flourishing positive values in our society. India, being a hub of innumerable festivals does justice to adjectives like enthusiasm, love, appreciation, tradition etc. Out of the many festivals, one such adorable festival which Indians celebrate with great zeal is that of Raksha Bandhan. And the place & the story which people can mostly relate to here is the historic legend of Maharani Karnavati of Mewar, Rajasthan which we will be discussing further in our post.
This pious festival is celebrated on the very last day of the Hindu calendar somewhere in the month of Shravana. This date generally falls in the month of August.
As the name itself suggests, the meaning of the name “Raksha Bandhan” lies in its name itself which says that it is “the bond of protection and care.”
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The cultural significance of this festival is such that it gets various names such as Saluno, Rakri and many others in different places. In every place, some minor thing or the other changes according to the cultural significance of that place. For example, an interesting ritual associated with Saluno includes the sisters placing a few shoots of barley behind the ears of their brothers. The main purpose of such rituals is to ensure the over-well being of their brothers. However, the main crux of this incredible festival is to create a bond of love and harmony among the brother and sister.
The story of Krishna and Draupadi is perhaps one of the most popular folklores in our Hindu culture known for Raksha Bandhan. Once, while handling a sugarcane Krishna cut out his finger and started bleeding. Witnessing this scene, his queen Rukmani immediately sent someone for getting the bandages. Meanwhile, it was Draupadi who was also watching all this unfold before her eyes came to help him. She cut a short cloth and wrapped Krishna’s bleeding finger with it. It was then, in return, Krishna promised to protect her whenever required. And when the unceremonious disrobing event with Draupadi was happening it was Krishna who helped her save her respect.
Another legend says that the ritual of Raksha Bandhan was followed by Yama who is also known as the Lord of Death and Yamuna which is a river that flows in India. As per the legend, it is believed that when the Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama she was given the reward of immortality by the lord of death. He also declared that any brother who offered to protect his sister on this day would also become subjected to immortality.
Among the many tell tales of Raksha Bandhan, it is the story of Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun which gets our attention the most, perhaps because it also has historical importance. Maharani Karnavati was the regent of Mewar and had been appointed to carry the administration duties after the death of her beloved husband, Ranga Sanga. The Maharani Karnavati was ruling in the name of her oldest son - Vikramjeet. And when Bahadur Shah attacked Mewar the second time, it was at that point of time when Rani Karnavati owing to the feat of losing everything reached out to other rulers for her support and protection.
However, it is interesting to know that Babur who was the father of Humayun once had defeated the Rana Sanga when he had led a confederation of the Rajput armies against him which was in the year 1527. And now Maharani sending rakhi to his son was an ironic thing. During this timeline, the Mughal emperor was himself stuck in the middle of another military campaign which he was carrying out in Bengal’s side. However, he assured the queen that he would be there in time for her assistance. But unfortunately, he couldn’t reach on time.
Especially for this festival, the bazaars are decorated with great enthusiasm by the shopkeepers. Girls start shopping with the hope to purchase the best rakhi for their brothers looking for the most colourful and vivid rakhi pieces. Obviously, they also want a gift in return for their trust and bond of love.
Everyone wears new clothes on this auspicious day of Rakhi. There is an adorable family get together. The Raksha Bandhan rituals involve lighting a Diya along with an earthen lamp. The main purpose of lighting the lamp is to represent the fire deity. Prayers for the well-being of the brothers are performed. The sister sweetly feeds a portion of sweet to the brother and then after the rituals are over rakhi is tied around the wrist of the brother by her sister.
Each and every festival in our country has its own charm. And it would be only right to dress in the most bright and sober clothing for such festivities, isn’t it so? Like any other traditional Indian festivals- on the day of Raksha Bandhan as well people dress in their best ethnic attires. These consists of Kurta and Pyjama for boys and ethnic suits for girls.
In our culture, every festival is associated with its specific food. And the celebration of Raksha Bandhan also calls for some really amazing & delicious Indian cuisine. Raksha Bandhan cuisine consists of many scrumptious food items like Vermicelli Kheer, Vegetable Pancakes, Pakoras, Mal Pua, Khoya Burfi, Tamarind Rice.
Rakhi is celebrated in every state. People generally tend to celebrate this pure festival in their homes. However, it is quite prominently celebrated in the northern parts of our country and people from states like Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan tend to celebrate it with great zeal.
15th Aug 2019
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