Rakhi Gifts

Why is Raksha Bandhan Celebrated?

Rakhi is celebrated to honour the connection of love and affection between siblings. Raksha Bandhan, the festival’s formal name, literally translates to bonds of protection. The sister ties the rakhi to her brother, praying for his health and happiness, and he reciprocates by promising to protect and honour her all his life. It is a festival of joy celebrated with prayers and sweets with the entire extended family joining in the enjoyment. The idea of idea of how we celebrate rakhi has been changing over the years. Earlier the focus was on convention with traditional sweetmeats and food playing a large role in the celebration; more recently, modern ideas of celebration such as Cadbury Chocolate have been becoming a part of the festivities.

Why we Celebrate Rakhi

While the festival is meant to salute sibling bonds, it is a joyous occasion that marks a deeper universal idea – that of brotherhood/sisterhood and love for all humanity. It therefore embraces all those whom we love – family, friends, colleagues, teachers. The ideal rakhi celebration would be to celebrate with the family at home because it a day to acknowledge family bonds, not just with your sibling but with the entire family.

Who started Raksha Bandhan?

It’s not very clear how Raksha Bandha started; its origins have been lost over time. There are some stories that explain how it began to be celebrated. It is said that when Lord Krishna injured his hand in battle, Draupadi tied a strip of her sari on the cut to stem the bleeding. Touched by the gesture, Lord Krishna vowed to protect her which he did. Another story relates to Mahabali, the demon king, and Goddess Lakshmi in which she tied a rakhi on the demon king to get his protection and blessings for Lord Vishnu, her husband, to return home to Vaikuntham.

What is Lumba Rakhi?

In keeping with the larger connotations of Raksha Bandhan, the lumba rakhi is meant for the sister-in-law rather than the brother. The idea originated in Rajasthan in the Marwari community. It is said that when the sister ties the lumba rakhi to her sister-in-law, it signifies her acceptance of the latter into the family and helps to cement their relationship. It also means that the sister-in-law will do all in her power to help her husband protect his sister.

The lumba rakhi is different from the usual rakhi – it is elongated in shape and more colourful and decorative. It is supposed to hang from the bangle worn by the sister-in-law. The way to tie the lumba rakhi is to attach it to the bangle worn by the sister-in-law so that it dangles gracefully from her wrist.