The ‘Raksha Bandhan’ festival, also known as ‘Rakhi’, is celebrated in the month of Shravana (July—August). Known as the festival of the silken bond it
is now observed as a Sister’s Day, renewing with the age-old tradition which highlights and strengthens the bond of love between brothers and sisters, while at the same time deepening its meaning and enlarging its
For many days preceding the festival the shops and stalls are packed with ‘rakhis’. These are wristlets of all shapes and all hues — red and blue, yellow
and pink, green and vermilion —trimmed with silver and gold threads. At the same time sweetmeat shops do a roaring trade as sweets and delicacies are a must on ‘Raksha Bandhan’ day.
When the day dawns, after a quick bathe the sisters put on clean clothes. Covering her~head with her ‘dopatta' the sister welcomes her brother with
‘Aarti’. After applying a ‘Tika of Chandan’ (spot of saffron) on her brother’s forehead she ties a ‘rakhi’ on the wrist of his right hand for protection against any evil influence. While placing the ‘rakhi’ on her
brother’s wrist, the sister prays earnestly for his happiness and success in all that he undertakes. The brother, on Ns part, renews his pledge to guard his sister’s honour with the last drop of his blood. She then
takes a piece of sweetmeat and playfully stuffs it into her brother’s mouth. The latter then places a gift of money on the ‘thali’ (plate) as a token of his affection. All that day, and till late in the evening, the
brother will wear the ‘rakhi’ on his wrist. If the brother is far away, the ‘rakhi’ is sent to him by post or through some person.
Like ‘Divali’, this festival has transcended the limitations of creed and race. Girls and married women may tie the ‘rakhi’ to ‘brothers’ of other
communities as well for very special reasons. These are the ‘rakhi brothers’ who consider it a privilege and a special mark of affection. It is said that the first non-Hindu to whom ‘rakhi’ was tied was Alexander