Decorate your own Rakhi Thali this festival.
The chaste bond of love between a brother and a sister is one of the deepest and noblest of human emotions. 'Raksha Bandhan' or 'Rakhi' is a special occasion to celebrate this emotional bonding by tying a holy Rakhi around the wrist. The Rakhi pulsates with sisterly love and sublime sentiments. It means 'a bond of protection', and Raksha Bandhan signifies that the strong must protect the weak from all that’s evil. The exclusively crafted Rakhi Thali is meant for the sister who wants to express her feelings of love and devotion to brothers.
Rakhi Pooja Thali is the plate in which the sisters put all the materials required for performing the Rakhi tying ceremony. These materials include 'diya' for performing aarti, sweets, 'roli', 'akshat' and Rakhi. The beautifully decorated Rakhi Thalis gives an impression of your love and care for your brother.
Decorating is an essential part of Rakhi customs celebrations in India. And here the term decoration is not only limited to decorating your house and yourself but also extends to the ubiquitous Thali, which every sister takes great care to decorate lest her brother not like it. The Thali is significant of the sister's love and undying devotion to her brother and her desire to please him always.
In every Hindu Puja, thali decoration plays a very important role, as no puja will be complete without these decorations. Sisters on the festive occasion of Bhai dooj, graduate the art form of decorating the thalis. The pains and efforts of decorating the puja thali by sisters are later rewarded by their brother with presents & gifts. On this day, sisters compete with each other to put up their very best. The puja thali or plate for Bhai duj contain roli, aipun and rice in their respective katoris and a coconut, all tastefully decorated. After putting all these items, sisters can then place the prasad onto the thali, a little piece of mithai or a batasha. Thali can further be embellished with a host of novel designs with the help of materials such as colored grains, felt paper, poster paints, flowers, buds, petals, leaves, beads and sequins.
Thali is a round plate usually made out of copper but depending upon the status of the household it could be bronze, silver or gold, and some also have intricate designs on them. Traditionally the Rakhi Thali is the same as the Thali for the Pooja (ceremony of prayer) of the deities at other festivals. The Rakhi Thali contains a diya (small candle), roli or tika (paste for anointing the forehead), rice, sandalwood, incense sticks. In the Raksha Bandhan Thali, the Rakhis are kept along with the moli (sacred thread, usually red in color).
Though these Thalis were passed on much as a heritage in Ancient India, today they are easily available in the markets at very affordable prices. One can buy a copper Thali or a Gold Thali depending on your means, the popular one's are the gold plated one's. There are Thalis that come with the containers and stands for the various components of the Pooja or have complimenting incense stick stands and diyas, containers for rice and roli and place to keep sweets.
Once you have chosen a Thali, you can be as creative as you like in its decoration. Different significations are linked to the Thali in different parts of the country. However, the popular custom is to draw the Swastika in the middle of the Thali with a red paste. Unlike in the west, the Swastika is a much-respected symbol in India. It is the symbol of the elephant god Ganesha and has absolutely no connection to the haunting Nazi version. Usually small containers are placed on the Thali for the roli, diya and incense stick. The Rakhi and the flowers too are placed on it while the sweets are brought on a different plate.
Beetle leaves are used as a replacement of the containers as they are considered auspicious. In much of South India, a banana leaf is placed on the Thali and the Swastika is painted on the banana leaf. In Urban India, Colorful Bandhani cloth, or Golden lace too is used as a means of decorating the Thali.
However, it is a very personal gesture and it is not rare to find Thalis which have been painted by the Sisters or innovative Thalis which would serve well as a piece of art.
Traditionally the Rakhi Thali is the same as the Thali for the pooja of the deities. The Rakhi Thali contains a diya, roli or tika, rice, sandalwood, incense sticks. In the Raksha Bandhan Thali, the Rakhis are kept along with the moli.
These days there are a lot many variations of the Rakhi Thali available in the market. The Thali or the plate could be of silver or brass or simple steel. They may have fixed containers and stands for the various components of the Pooja or have complimenting incense stick stands and diyas, containers for rice and roli and place to keep sweets.
You can innovate your own way of decorating the Rakhi Thali. Brass or silver or silver plated Rakhi Thali is considered most auspicious. One of the essentials is drawing a Swastika in the middle of the Rakhi Thali, the symbol of Lord Ganesha. You need three tiny containers for roli, rice and water, a diya and an incense stick stand. Rakhi and flowers can be places in the Thali itself and sweets can accompany in a separate plate.
You can use Betel leaves as a replacement of the containers. Betel leaves are considered auspicious.
You can put a banana leaf on an ordinary tali to give it a festive look and arrange the pooja ingredients on the banana leaf.
You may decorate the Rakhi Thali with a yellow or red cotton Bandhani cloth and decorate with gota (Golden lace) or moli. Take care that diya and the burning incense sticks don't come in direct contact with the cloth.
Create a sacred aura by placing a jute mat and asans and arrange your things on it. It is upto ones own imagination and the traditional perspectives to decorate the Rakhi Thali and perform the ceremony. Be your innovative self and enjoy the auspices of the day.
Rakhi Thali Decoration Idea with Sandalwood: