How we celebrate Raksha Bandhan and History behind the Ceremony

  • A short article on the significance of Raksha Bandhan, how it is celebrated and technology allows creation of new designs.

For Hindus around the world, Raksha Bandhan (or the sacred thread-tying ceremony) is more than a festival — it’s the thread that weaves together the rich fabric of Indian traditions, transcending time and culture. Having originated from the deep-seated bond between brothers and sisters, this festival has been celebrated for centuries, embodying the simple essence of love, protection, and family ties.


Have you ever wondered about the origins of this beautiful festival? Look no further.


In this article, we explore the origins of the festival and the vibrant ways it’s celebrated, as well as taking a closer look at the evolution Raksha Bandhan decorations so you can create your own picture-perfect Raksha Bandhan designs — and we all know just how integral decorations and aesthetics are to this beloved festivity.


The Historical Significance of Raksha Bandhan

The roots of Raksha Bandhan lead back to ancient Indian tradition. One such likely source is the story of Lord Krishna and Draupadi. The story goes that Draupadi once tore a piece of cloth from her saree to bind Krishna's bleeding finger. The tying of a protective thread or 'Rakhi' was born out of this act of love and commitment. In return, Lord Krishna vowed to protect Draupadi in times of need. From then it became a tradition to tie a protective thread or ‘Rakhi’. 


However, there is also another story that associates the festival to King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi. When Vishnu won the three worlds from Bali, he went to see his wife. Bali asked Lord Vishnu's wife to tie the thread of Rakhi and then Lord Vishnu requested Bali to free Vishnu from the promise, as he was already banished. Thus, Goddess Lakshmi tied the string and Lord Vishnu was freed.


Whether you are drawn to the story of Draupadi and Lord Krishna or King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi, each story weaves a unique thread in the rich fabric of Raksha Bandhan — a timeless festival that honours duty, the enduring bond of love, and supreme sacrifice.


Celebratory Rituals of Raksha Bandhan

For Indics, Raksha Bandhan isn't just about a thread. Rather, it is an event marked with various rituals and traditions that add meaning to the occasion. The day usually begins with sisters performing a traditional prayer, where they offer aarti to their brothers and apply a tilak on their forehead. In this instance, aarti symbolises a sister's love along with well-being on part of the brother. 


Sisters then tie the rakhi on their brothers' wrist, accompanied by a heartfelt pledge for protection and support. In return, brothers often present gifts to their sisters as a token of their love and commitment. After the rakhi is tied, the family exchanges sweets and later they share a hearty meal that adds to the spirit of the festive spirit, bringing everyone closer and spreading joy all around.

Did You Know: Traditional sweets such as ladoos, barfis, and gulab jamuns, alongside savoury delights such as samosas, paneer tikka and a variety of chaats are some of the most common eats you’ll find at Raksha Bandhan festivities. 

Evolution of Raksha Bandhan Design 

You know what they say — times are changing, and so has the evolution of Raksha Bandhan design. Today, Raksha Bandhan has transcended religious and mythological origins to encompass a variety of designs that reflect the changing times. Instead of just Rakhi bracelets made with only red and gold threads, they now come in a variety of colours, materials, and styles, each with its own connotation. The market is flooded with Rakhis aplenty — each more intricately designed than the next — to cater to individual tastes that range from the holy trinity to kiddie characters.


You may even seek inspiration from the history of Raksha Bandhan for creating your own Rakhis this year. But if you are looking to do something a little out of the ordinary, then why not seek your inspiration from contemporary tales or even these unheard stories of Raksha Bandhan.


Taking Raksha Bandhan Across The Globe 

While the traditional spirit of Raksha Bandhan remains unchanged, its celebration has evolved over the years. In today's fast-paced world, family members are often separated by thousands of miles, and the significance of Raksha Bandhan crosses geographical boundaries. Through online gifting and video calls, sisters can now shower their brothers with the same love from across the world, despite the distance that separates them. Siblings can also design personalised digital Rakhis thanks to apps like Adobe Express, adding a modern touch to an ancient tradition.


Additionally, the celebration of Raksha Bandhan is no longer limited to just brother and sister. It now extends to cousins, friends, and even close acquaintances in modern day society, focusing on the universal themes of love and protection.


In A Nutshell

So you see, Raksha Bandhan isn’t JUST a festival! It’s a timeless show of love, a request for protection, and a reminder that the ties that bind us aren’t just familial or even rooted in friendship. Whether the day is celebrated in an entirely traditional way or whether the people involved put their own modern stamp on it, Raksha Bandhan is ultimately about the same thing: the unbreakable bonds between ALL of us, across time and culture alike.


So, this coming August (the 19th to be exact) as we prepare to tie Rakhis or send digital expressions of love, let’s revel in the beauty of this festival. Happy Raksha Bandhan!


To read all articles on Indian Festivals


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