Every year, the festival of Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on Shravana Purnima i.e. the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravana which usually falls in the month of July or August, according to the Gregorian calendar. This auspicious day rejoices the special bond between a brother and a sister, reflecting their true love and care for each other. Distance does not matter as the brothers who are far away from their sisters try to come to them for the occasion. Once together, the festival is then celebrated by following the complete rituals which have been followed since the time immemorial. And though the style of celebrating the festival has changed with time, these traditions and customs remain unchanged. Thus, holding tight the customs, it is rejoiced in the same manner with lots of happiness and excitement all over the country. Not only that, the festival of Rakhi has also become very popular among the Indians who live abroad.
The preparations for this festival start in advance and the market is adorned with a true festive look. Full of variety of colourful and attractive rakhis are put on display in every shop. For small kids, rakhis are available in the form of their favourite cartoon characters, toy vehicles, etc. and for elder people, in the form of thin threads, with shells, swastikas, and images of Lord Ganesha etc. Sisters too start shopping a good few days before the actual day and also, at times, they make rakhi threads on their own, just as in the market. Besides the shops selling rakhis, the garment shops, sweet shops, gift shops, etc. too get flooded with attractive items; various types of gifts are made available, depending on the age group, to give to the sisters as a token of love.
According to the old Indian traditions, all the family members get up early in the morning and get ready for the rituals which are to be performed on the day. They all, together, offer a prayer to the divine deities and then, sisters prepare the thali of puja which includes roli (vermilion), rice grains, rakhi thread, incense sticks, earthen lamps and sweets. They perform an aarti of their brothers, put tilak (of roli and few rice grains) on their forehead. After that, they tie the rakhi thread on the wrist of their brothers and offer sweets to them. These rituals are performed with the chanting of the mantras. In return, the brothers bless their sisters with warm wishes and promise to protect them from all the evil and difficulties which come in their way, till the end of the life. They also give rakhi gifts or money to them as a symbol of love and care, whereas brothers who are smaller than their sisters touch their sisters' feet and take blessings from them.
The traditions and customs of Raksha Bandhan are as old as the festival. Go through the article to know various traditions and customs of Rakhi.