Traditional ways to celebrate Rakhi

Resham Sengar

In India, there is a prescribed way of celebrating Rakdha Bandhan. On the festive day, both siblings take bath early morning and get dressed in bright and new clothes. Women can apply henna or alta on their palms and feet. A fast is observed by the sister as well as the brother until the rakhi is tied as per the rites. Drinks like water, milk and tea are allowed for consumption as an exception to the rule.

In some homes, a thread is tied to the presiding deity by the daughter of the house. Also, offerings of traditional sweets are made to the deity. Then the sister prepares a puja thali comprising a ghee/oil lamp (diya), roli (kumkum or red powder used for holy rites), rice, rakhi thread and sweets. Having done that, the sister applies tilakon her brother’s forehead, ties the rakhi thread on his wrist and does the aarti by waving the ghee lamp in a clockwise manner before the brother.

She prays for his well-being, good health and prosperity and in return the brother showers his sister with presents, according to his financial worth. This gift is an acknowledgement of the sister’s blessings and prayers. But what is more important here is the pledge that the brother takes - of protecting his sister against any crisis and sharing her joys and sorrows throughout her life.

If the brother is married, then the sister also ties a thread on the wrist of her sister-in-law and her children. This practice is much prevalent in some parts of Northern India.

Last but not the least, which festival is complete without a hearty feast? If you agree with this belief, then make sure that you enjoy a bowl full of Sevai (sweet noodles made from parboiled rice) to end the day on a sweet note!