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  Raksha Bandhan

Rakhi: The Thread of Love

Any Indian festival is incomplete without the typical Indian festivities, the gatherings, celebrations, exchange of sweets and gifts, lots of noise, singing and dancing. Festivals are the celebration of togetherness- the celebrations of being one family. Festival of Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is one such major occasion.

It is the celebration of brothers and sisters. It is one festival that primarily belongs to the North and Western regions of India but celebrated throughout the country with the same verve. Regional celebrations may be different but Raksha bandhan has become an integral part of those customs.

As per the traditions, the sister on this day prepares the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal and rakhis. She worships the deities, ties Rakhi to the brother(s) and wishes for their well-being. The brother in turn acknowledges the love with a promise to be by the sisters' side through the thick and thin and gives her a token gift.

The festival has been celebrated in the same way with the same traditions for centuries. Only the means have changed with the changing lifestyles and these too to make the celebrations more elaborate.

This is the day that still pulls the siblings together. The increasing physical distances evoke the desire to be together even more. They try to reach out to each other on the Raksha Bandhan day. The joyous meeting, the rare family get-together, that erstwhile feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood calls for a massive celebration.

The sisters tie that thread of love to their brothers amongst chanting of mantras, put roli and rice on his forehead and pray for his well being. She bestows him with gifts and blessings. The brother also wishes her a good life and pledges to take care of her. He gives her a return gift. The gift is the physical acceptance of her love, reminder of their togetherness and a symbol of his pledge. The legends and the references in history are repeated; the significance of the festival is emphasized.

Well that is kind of an end to the rituals but the celebrations actually start after that. For the parents, it is a family reunion- Tasty dishes, wonderful sweets, exchange of gifts and sharing of past experiences.

For those who are not able to visit each other, rakhi cards and e-rakhis and rakhis through mails perform the part of communicating the rakhi messages. Hand made rakhis and self-made rakhi cards are just a representation of the personal feelings of the siblings.

Crux is that Raksha Bandhan brings people together in true spirit of all Indian festivals.

India is a country of festivals. It is culturally so rich that it celebrates a festival almost every month. The people of India are so lively that they find a reason or the other for celebrations. One of such reasons is the sweet and sour relationship between a brother and a sister. Though brothers and sisters share and enjoy the bond of love between them throughout the year but Rakhi is the day when they get an opportunity to express their tender love and feelings towards each other. The Rakhi day is an opportunity for them to commemorate their loving memories, loyalty, closeness, trust and friendship that is lasting and true.

Raksha Bandhan is celebrated every year on 'Shravan Purnima' (Full Moon Day of the Hindu month of Shravan), which generally falls in the month of August. On the holy day of Rakhi, the sisters tie a sacred piece of thread (Known as Rakhi or 'Raksha-Sutra') on the wrist of their brothers. Then they sweeten each other’s mouths with delicious and mouth-watering sweets.

Rakhi 2012 : was celebrated on 2nd August 2012
Rakhi 2013 : will be celebrated on 21st August 2013

This special relationship is celebrated with festivities, beautiful rakhis and an exchange of gifts, but the best gift of all, is the love that brothers and sisters share everyday, and specially on the festival of Rakhi.
Rakhi is a traditional Indian festival celebrating the bond of love that is shared between a brother and a sister. The traditions and customs associated with this festival are unique and very special in themselves. Every part of India celebrates rakhi in its own way along with its rich culture and pooja.
If you are shopping for rakhis for your kid brother then the best option is to go for kiddish rakhi threads. Your kid will like rakhis with cartoon characters such as jokers, pokemons, donald duck, shaktimaan, micky mouse, tweety and other superheros. The Rakhis with toys like mobile handsets, cars, bikes and animals etc. attached to them are also favorite among children.

Types of Rakhi : Rakhi the sacred thread:

Rakhi is a festival that is celebrated by all classes of people in India. As the living standard of people varies as per their annual incomes, so varies the types of Rakhi, its cost and the material used in preparing those Rakhis. Some of the popular types of Rakhi are here.

Cartoon Rakhi:
In such types of Rakhis, one or the other cartoon characters are made. The characters may be Micky mouse, Donald duck, Tweety, Mogli, Casper, Shaktimaan or any other character popular among the children.

Sandalwood Rakhi:
These Rakhis are made by using sandalwood pieces in various decorative forms. There may be small animals, flowers or some idols made of sandalwood. Sometimes sandalwood beads are also used to give the Rakhis ethnic look. The sweet smell of sandalwood adds extra freshness to the Rakhi festival.

Musical Rakhi:
Musical Rakhis are those which play a special kind of music. This music may be melodious, surprising or even some animal's voice. These Rakhis are again in demand by the young age children.

Floral Rakhi:
These are the Rakhis which have a touch of ancientness. These Rakhis give a complete traditional look. Use of different colorful, small and big flowers makes such Rakhis extremely beautiful. These Rakhis are naturally filled with sweet fragrance.

Zari Rakhi:
These Rakhis are made of Zari threads. Apart using the zari as thread, it is also used in making the central part or the Rakhi base of Rakhi. The zari is generally silver or golden, therefore it appears shiny.

Resham Rakhi:
Resham Rakhis or Reshami Rakhis are those that are made by Resham threads. Such Rakhis are soft in touch and look bright. All kinds of Resham Rakhis, be it a simple Dori or a heavily decorated one, are well-liked by each age-group.

A special kind of thread is used in Hindu Dharma rituals, for tying onto the wrists of the participants of any Hindu rites. This special thread is popularly known as 'Kalava'. This same 'Kalava' is called 'Mouli'. This 'Mouli' is also used as Rakhi.

Gold-Silver coated Rakhi:
When the Rakhis are prepared by using coatings of the precious metals like silver and gold, then they automatically give a royal look. At times, these metals are also used in the different shapes like flowers, Indian Gods and Goddesses and even beads while preparing the Rakhis.

Shree-Om Rakhi:
Rakhis containing the symbols of Hindu Dharma, like the 'Shree' sign, the 'Om' sign and the 'Swastika' signs are also in demand. Such Rakhis leave a religious impression. So these Rakhis are especially popular among the old people.

Ram Rakhi:
Sometimes Rakhis are made of simple silk threads. They are very simple Doris only with no decorations at all. Just a flower made of same thread in the middle of the Dori.

Beads Rakhi:
The Rakhis that have beads embedded into their threads or embedded on top of the Rakhi base in the middle of the Rakhi thread are put into this category. Such Rakhis give a unique tribal appearance.

Currency Note Rakhi:
Such Rakhis have different denominations of currency notes like Rupees or Dollars attached to them. These currency notes can be duplicated, made of plastic or even real.

Stone Rakhi:
The Rakhis that are made by using the pieces of precious and semi-precious stones are called stone Rakhis. A Rakhi decorated with various kinds of glittering stone pieces looks just marvelous.

Famous Rakhis found in India
· Mysore: Sandalwood Rakhis.
· Mumbai: Cartoon Rakhis.
· Gujarat: Silver Rakhis.
· Calcutta: Handmade Rakhis.
· Punjab: Resham Rakhis.
· Rajasthan: Zari Rakhis.
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