Raksha Bandhan- The Celebration of Sibling Love
Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi, is one of the famous Hindu festivals celebrated in India with pomp and gaiety. The festival of Rakhi celebrates the eternal bond between brother and sister. The festival falls on a full moon day in the month of Shravan (August-September) as per the Hindu Calender. This year, the festival of Rakhi will be celebrated on August 20, 2013.
There are many legends associated with the festival of Rakhi.
Humayun and Rani Karnavati: Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of King of Chittor asked for the help of Emperor Humayun when Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah invaded Chittor. She sent a Rakhi to Humayun and he was so touched that he immediately set off to defend Chittor.
However, he reached late and Bahadur Shah invaded Chittor. Seeing this, Rani Karnavati along with all other ladies in the fortress carried out Jahaur (act of killing oneself to avoid dishonour). However, Humayun respected the rakhi sent to him by Karnavati and he evicted Bahadur Shah from Chittor and restored Chittor to Rani Karnavati’s son.
Yam and Yamuna: According to another legend Yamuna (river) tied a knot on the hand of Lord Yama (Lord of Death) and was given immortality. Yama was so touched with the moment that he declared that whoever gets a Rakhi tied on his wrist and promises protection for his sister, will be bestowed with immortality. That is why it is said that Rakhi protects a brother from all evils.
Similarly, Roxana, wife of Alexander sent a sacred thread to Porus asking him to save her husband Alexander in the battle. Porus gave full respect to her Rakhi and left Alexander unharmed.
There are a few other narratives related to the festival of Raksha Bandhan, all depicting the relevance of this thread, Rakhi, which is like a promise of protection to sisters from their brothers and a shield of protection for brothers.
The festival of Raksha Bandhan is entirely dedicated to the love and affection shared between a brother and a sister. The festival is marked by tying a Rakhi (a sacred and coloured thread decorated with beads & other things) on the wrist of the brother by the sister. On this day, sisters pray to God for a long life and happiness for their brothers. The brother in turn promises her for her protection and presents Rakhi gifts to her. Sister offers sweets to her brother after tying a knot on his wrist. Vermicelli Kheer, sweets, pakodas and vegetable pancakes are some of the popular Rakhi recipes especially prepared on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.
How to celebrate the festival of Rakhi with your children at your home
- Explain your children about the significance of the festival. You may explain to them by narrating popular legends related to the festival of Raksha Bandhan.
- Ask your children for their help in decorating your home for the festival.
- Encourage your daughter to prepare a Rakhi greeting card for her brother.
- Help your son to buy some good presents for his sister.
- Pray to God along with your children and offer your rakhis & sweets to the God.
- Teach them to pray God to offer His blessings to these rakhis to be tied on brother’s wrist.
- Ask your children to fulfill the custom of Rakhi by tying a rakhi on brother’s hand, offering sweets and sharing gifts with each other.
- Prepare Raksha Bandhan recipes for the festive occasion of Raksha Bandhan with your children, like vermicelli Kheer, vegetable pancakes etc.
- Enjoy lunch with your children in the afternoon and you may plan an outing with them in the evening.
This way you can enjoy the festival with your children; at the same time teach them the importance of the festivals in our lives.