Raksha Bandhan Activities & Gift Ideas
In the urban context, ‘Raksha Bandhan activity’ usually translates to sisters and brothers crisscrossing the city on Rakhi day to meet up with siblings or friends-who-are siblings for Rakhi rituals and festivities. Some families have a happy tradition of gathering for Rakhi lunch in one of the family homes. Lots of catching up, gift exchanges, eating, drinking, laughter and celebrations happen during this wonderful festival, unique to India.
This year, why not add to the Raksha Bandhan activities and Rakhi celebration ideas? In the present times, where much of the world is still grappling with the unprecedented health crisis, we feel it is particularly important to make every effort to renew ties with family and friends we love and value. Here’s the typical scenario, most little girls send Rakhis to their out-of-town brothers and boy cousins, and the little boys are taken to buy or Rakhi gifts for their sisters and cousin sisters. (The postal department in India makes special arrangements for Rakhis to be delivered in a streamlined manner during this time.)
This year, let’s make Rakhi more meaningful by involving the children in engaging Raksha Bandhan activities even in the lead-up to the festival.
Here are some interesting suggestions for Raksha Bandhan activities for children to get you started.
Teach Your Kids How To Make Rakhis At Home
The internet is full of videos on how to make Rakhis at home. Check some that are suitable for children. This is great for children who love to dabble in handcraft. Get them the supplies, and on a weekend, join them in making Rakhis at home. It’s great bonding time too. You will need cardboard to make the base of the Rakhis, sharp scissors, glue, silken strings, beads, sequins, fancy buttons and any other embellishment the children fancy. Rakhi making ideas are many but get your youngsters to think out-of-the-box and try creating geometrical and arty designs instead of the traditional motifs.
If your little one prefers, he can make a collage by drawing and painting a variety of Rakhis on chart paper and decorating the whole with photos of his siblings and himself. If you have a writer in the making, encourage him to write a poem on Raksha Bandhan in English or Hindi. You can frame his work of art and label it as Rakhi 2021 with his signature. Memories made for a lifetime of a special Rakhi!
To make the activity even more fun, surprise your little ones by ordering personalised Cadbury’s Silk chocolate bars in packs of two from CadburyGifting with their photos, names and the label: ‘Rakhi 2021’ on them. Seeing their photos and names on the packs is guaranteed to delight the children. Gift them the packs to enjoy while they dabble in the Rakhi artwork. Sweet bonding never tasted better.
Underline The True Importance of Rakhi
Rakhi is a festival of kindness, compassion and protection of the weak by the strong. Get your children to understand the true significance of Raksha Bandhan. Get on to CadburyGifting, and together with them, order gift hampers to be delivered to your helps’ homes for Rakhi. Talk about how we often tend to forget that it’s not just essentials that people need; joy too is a basic human need. And if you can bring a little happiness to someone’s life by gifting them a special chocolate gift that they would never otherwise experience, it’s the best celebration of the spirit of the festival. The importance of Rakhi will be forever etched in their minds.
The Story of Raksha Bandhan
Another Raksha Bandhan activity that you can try is to take them book-buying and get some good children’s literature on Rakhi stories. Read to them, if they enjoy that, or simply tell them the tales around Rakhi. This also gives you the opportunity to show them how this festival is truly universal and how it best symbolises the multi-hued culture of our country.
You yourself may be surprised by the history and legends surrounding the festival. One story talks about the demon king Bali. An ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, he approached the divinity to safeguard his kingdom. Lord Vishnu could not refuse his follower and was all set to leave his heavenly abode and his consort Goddess Laxmi. Distressed, Laxmi went to Bali disguised as a Brahmin woman seeking shelter. On an auspicious day soon after, she tied a sacred thread on the wrist of King Bali and requested him to withdraw his request of Lord Vishnu. Touched by her devotion to her husband, Bali agreed to do so, earning the respect of the divine couple.
One of the main legends around why Rakhi is celebrated is in the Mahabharata. The story goes that Lord Krishna cut his finger while handling sugarcane during Makar Sankranti. His queen, Rani Rukmani, sent word to the palace to send bandages, but Draupadi, who was close by, tore off a bit of her saree and bandaged Krishna’s finger to stop the bleeding. Touched, Krishna vowed to always protect her. And defend her he did when Duryodhan set about disrobing her in the open palace in a frenzy of jealous anger. Krishna’s divine intervention brought about a miracle whereby Draupadi’s saree became unending. Try as he might, Duryodhan was not able to get the drape off Draupadi. The celebration of the spirit of Lord Krishna’s is said to be one of the main reasons why Rakhi is celebrated.
A latter-day tale has Rani Karnavati of Mewar sending a Rakhi to Mughal Emperor Humayun seeking his protection from the ruler of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, who wanted to oust Vikramjeet, the Rani’s son. Humayun was too late to save the queen, but he did defeat Bahadur Shah and install Vikramjeet as the rightful ruler of Mewar, thus keeping his promise to the Rani.
Yet another rakhi tale goes back to the time when Alexander was poised for battle with King Porus, the ruler of the Punjab area. Alexander’s wife sent a sacred thread to Porus, asking him not to harm her husband in battle. On the battlefield, when Porus was about to deliver a final blow on Alexander, he noticed the Rakhi on his wrist and held back from attacking Alexander personally.
Closer to modern times, the Rakhi ceremony was initiated in 1905 by Rabindranath Tagore in Shanti Niketan to symbolically protest against the partition of Bengal by the British. That year, during Rakhi, Hindus and Muslims tied Rakhis on one another, pledging unity. Till date, the festival is marked with gaiety in Shantiniketan.
Rakhi Gift Suggestions
Rakhi is a festival of gifting. Build up the excitement prior to the festival by getting your children to draw up a special Rakhi 2021 list of all the people they love and those they feel need cheering up. Come up with a fun Rakhi gift suggestion: Together with them, send out personalised chocolate gifts from CadburyGifting for all on the list. Get your children to help in adding little personalised messages for all.
And finally, here’s how to make making Rakhi at home easy and beautiful. If the situation permits, invite all your extended family to join you for a pre-Rakhi meal at your home. Most people have prior commitments on Rakhi, so plan this get-together for the weekend before Rakhi. Make your house beautiful with simple ideas: get in lots of fresh flowers, let the children make ‘Rakhi rangolis’, light sandalwood joss sticks and make a toran of marigold and mango leaves at the entrance or set out an uruli filled with auspicious marigold. Keep the meal simple (a one-dish meal, maybe biryani), and surprise everyone with ‘return gifts’ of personalised packs of Cadbury Silk bars with their names and photos on the pack.
Make it a Cadbury Celebrations Rakhi. Enjoy!