Essentially a Hindu rite, Rakshabandhan is a festival that celebrates the unique bond of a brother and sister. Derived from Sanskrit, the term Rakshabandhan essentially means “the bond of protection, obligation and care. It is celebrated in the month of Shravan on the full moon night, first Poornima. Traditionally, the sister ties Rakhi on her brother’s wrist while the brother pledges to protect her and keep her safe from all evils. It is celebrated in parts of the Indian subcontinent but has its influence throughout the country.
The festival cuts across class and caste lines and has reached not just in India but across the borders too. With Rakshabandhan around the corner, here’s a glimpse of how it is recognized in different parts of India.
In Uttarakhand, the Bagwal festival is an essential attraction of Rakshabandhan. The festival is famous for its ritual of pelting stones. However, the ceremony is customized, and now, the stones are replaced with fruits and flowers. A fair on a large scale is set in Champawat on the given day.
2. Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and parts of Uttar Pradesh
In this part of the country, Rakhi is replaced with Kajari Purnima and takes place during the same time as Rakshabandhan. It is a festival where farmers worship their land with rituals performed at home with the soil from their land. After 7 days, the soil is taken and submerged in the river with prayers of prosperity and longevity.
People visit Lord Shiva on this auspicious day to get rid of their sins. People make Pavitropana, which is a thread made of filaments of cotton and Kasa grass tied together. This pious thread is tied around Shivalinga.
4. Rakhi In West Bengal & Odisha
In West Bengal & Odisha, along with the Rakhi tying festival, they also celebrate Jhulan Purnima where they decorate swings and place Radha and Krishna idols while they sing and dance all along. It is a spectacular weeklong affair, especially for the Vaishnavas.
5. Rakhi In Jammu
In Jammu, Rakhi is associated with kite-flying, which is a vital part of the celebration. The preparations for the day include finding ingredients for the Puja, best Rakhi gift for brother, colourful kites for the kite-flying ritual and all of it begins a month before the main festival. The rooftops remain crowded with people celebrating with loud music and delicacies. On Rakshabandhan, the sister ties Rakhi on brother’s wrist and feeds him sweets and in return her brother surprise her with awesome Rakhi gifts.
In Maharashtra and other coastal regions, people worship the sea, and the festival is called Naarali Poornima or Rakhi Poornima. This is the time when monsoons and the sea becomes calm. People offer coconuts to the sea as thanks to Lord Varun (Rain God).
7. Rakhi in Tamil Nadu, Kerala
In Southern India, Rakhi is celebrated as Avani Avittam. On this day, Brahmins change the holy thread called Janeyu after taking a dip in the sea. This festival is usually for male members of the family. While changing the sacred thread, they vow to follow the path of righteousness and lead a life of goodness and dignity.
However, an exciting and noteworthy fact is that a festival named Kanu Pidi is celebrated in January in Southern India where sisters pray for their brother’s well being and good health.
Different regions of the country have different ways of celebrating this special day. No matter how far the siblings are on this day, sisters never forget to send Rakhi to their brothers and the brothers send Rakhi gifts to India sitting in any corner of the world.