On August 20th faces will light up with smiles and hearts will laugh together. Why? This day marks another Raksha Bandhan festival. Hindus and some non-Hindus throughout the world eagerly look forward to this auspicious day. What is Raksha Bandhan?
Raksha Bandhan is the celebration of the relationship between a brother and a sister. It falls on the full moon in the month of Sravana in the lunar calendar. Raksha means protection and bandhan means to tie. Sisters tie a woven thread bracelet called a rakhi around the wrists of their brothers.
As a sister ties the rakhi, she prays for blessings and the wellbeing of her brother and he in turn promises to protect her forever. Although the thread of the rakhi is frail and can easily be broken, symbolically, it has immeasurable strength; it is stronger than iron chains. The rakhi symbolizes that unbreakable bond of love and trust between brothers and sisters. On Raki day, as it is fondly called, brothers and sisters try to meet, but if this is not possible, sisters deliver their rakhis by mail, call, send e-greetings, or cards for their brothers.
Raksha Bandhan is not only for biological brothers and sisters, but for any sister who wishes to seek the protection of a brother. Additionally, it is not uncommon for Hindu women to tie rakhis on non-Hindu men.
Like most Hindu festivals, Raksha Bandhan brings singing, dancing, and food! Here in South Florida, the Raksha Bandhan celebrations have already begun. Last Saturday, I attended a show presented by the Araya Samaj of Florida which was a delightful treat! As expected, my sweet tooth was thoroughly satisfied. There was also lots of singing and dancing. One young dancer enthralled me with her beautiful and graceful moves.
Lillian Grace Latchmin is a 12-year-old bharatanatyam dance student. She is a dedicated young lady who wants to excel in this Indian classical dance form. Bharatanatyam, the oldest of all the classical dance styles in India is a powerful and dynamic dance that requires patient and committed practice. Lily’s commitment to her passion certainly shone through when she stepped on stage with her graceful moves. Her dance added an extra sparkle to the Raksha Bandhan show!
A happy and blessed Raksha Bandhan 2013!
May the bond of love and trust between brothers and sisters remain steadfast and strong.