Raksha Bandhan

 
 

It’s that part of the year when our televisions are filled with the advertisements of chocolates and greetings cards. Siblings are the most excited ones in the families looking forward to celebrating their bond of love on the auspicious full moon day of the month of Shravan. Yes, it’s the celebration of Raksha Bandhan, which falls on August 7th this year.
 
Significance of Raksha Bandhan
 
 As the name suggests, Raksha Bandhan is the celebration of the unsaid promise that every brother makes to his sister, to stand by her and protect her through all the hurdles of life. It’s the promise to cherish the good times and fight against all odds with togetherness. It's a day to remember the sweet little moments of childhood when the world was nothing but a large playground to foster dreams together.
 
Does distance matter on Raksha Bandhan?
 

 
Traditionally, a sacred thread of love called Rakhi is tied on the brother’s wrist, on this day. If the brother-sister duo is geographically far, being located in different states, cities or countries, this day holds special to make the miles disappear. The phones ring with a different jingle, the doorbell sets a different pace to the heartbeat, the unexpected gifts or even the surprise visits, reaffirms the brotherly and sisterly love on this day, regardless of age and distance. Married sisters are continued to be pampered on this day by a special visit of their brothers at their homes to celebrate this eternal love.  
 
A festival that has encompassed the world in a Bond
 

However, the celebration of Raksha Bandhan goes way beyond mere tying of the Rakhi to brothers. Over the years the meaning of this festival has evolved in the most pleasant ways where it’s not just confined to brothers and sisters. Anyone who feels a sense of responsibility towards their near and dear ones celebrates this day with utmost dedication irrespective of caste, creed or colour. It is a beautiful way to promote cultural harmony.
 
 
Flavours of this festival
 

It’s that day of the year when walking down a lane on a typical Indian street will leave you swung to the aromas of amazing Indian savouries being cooked in every house.  
 
Here are a few recipes that are sure to add to the flavors of this festival, already so ambrosial. Khoya Burfi Malpua , Vermicelli Kheer , Vegetable Pancakes and Banana cutlets are some of the dishes prepared to mark this occasion.
 
 
Puja Thali
 

 
A silver decorated thali which includes a small heapful of Akshat ( rice), Kumkum ( Roli), an unbroken Coconut, Diya (lamp) to perform an arti of the brother, a Kalash filled with water, Rakhi ( sacred thread) and last but not the least, sweet to add the flavour to the festival. 
 
Ingredients of Auspiciousness
 
The celebration is begun with the application of kumkum by the sister on her brother’s forehead wishing him a long and healthy life. Kumkum signifies the value of self-esteem and respect she holds for her dear brother. This is followed by the application of akshat over the kumkum which encourages a positive impact in his life. Arti is performed in honour of her brother while prayers are being offered for his long life.
The essence of offering the coconut lies in the well being, happiness and success in her brother’s life. It is called Shriphal, the very fruit from Goddess Lakshmi.
The Rakhi symbolises her love for her brother and is tied around the wrist with the belief that her brother would protect her life-long and the sister's love would seal their sweet bond forever.
 
The kalash is a sign of abundance and prosperity that a sister sincerely wishes for, in every facet of her brother’s life.
Sweets are shared and relished by the siblings to celebrate their togetherness and to add more sweetness to their relationship.
 
After the puja, the brother feels abundantly blessed with his sister’s prayers and lavishly showers gifts on her. The bond of protection ties individuals in a knot of eternal love and security. It is a day to come together to re-live moments of joy and love and promote a feeling of oneness and harmony.