It’s the festival of brother-sister bond. Raksha Bandhan has been celebrated in India and many other parts of Asia since centuries and it is still celebrated with much excitement and gusto. It is the festival where brothers and sisters celebrated the bond for each others and even those friends who are more like siblings and less like friends celebrate the festival. Raksha Bandhan is always celebrated in the month of Shravan on the first Poornima (full moon night). The day begins with the family visiting the temple in new attire. The sister then decorates a thali (plate) for her brother with an oil lamp, sweets and the traditional Rakhi or a thread which signifies the bond of trust and love. She then proceeds to first tie the Rakhi on her brothers wrist and then feed him the sweets. In return, the brother gives sister some gift or blessings in the form of gift. Also Read - Akshay Kumar-Aanand L Rai's BTS Picture From The Sets of Raksha Bandhan is Simply Unmissable | See Viral Pic
The festival is where the brother pledges to protect his sister from harm and vows to always keep her safe. Though this is the most famous way of celebrating the festival and has even been depicted so in movies, it is not the same everywhere. Many parts of India and other Asian nations celebrate Raksha Bandhan in a slightly different manner. Raksha Bandhan is even called by different names throughout the world. What are the names and different ways of celebrating? Read on to know! Also Read - After Failing to Fulfil Promise of Gifting a Bicycle to His Sister, Kanpur Man Jumps In Front of Moving Train
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In Jammu, Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in quite a different manner. It’s just like the Kite-Flying festival! The kite flying begins almost one month before the festival and the locals enjoy the festival thoroughly. It’s not just the small traditional kites but kites of all shapes, colours and sizes are used. The locals use a special string for flying the kites.
2. West Bengal and Odisha
In West Bengal and Odisha, it is not just the Rakhi tying festival but Lord Ram and Seeta are worshipped. The day begins with visits to the temple where Ram and Seeta are prayed to and then, the siblings celebrate the festival. The name for Raksha Bandhan is different oo! It is called Jhulan Purnima in both the states.
In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, the men change their Janau threads (sacred threads worn around the torso) on this day. It is festival not just for siblings but even for all brothers and sisters. The Raksha Bandhan festival is called by the same name but the festivities are different. There’s also a fair that takes place in Champawat for the day.
In Maharashtra and the coastal regions of Western India, the festival is called Naarali Poornima and is celebrated by worshipping the sea. The fisherfolk, who are predominantly the occupants of the region throw coconuts into the sea as offerings to the sea. This is also the day coconut based swwets and dishes are cooked. The traditional Raksha Bandhan is celebrated after the sea-worship.
In Nepal, the festival is celebrated similar to Uttarakhand. The festival itself is called Janaeu Purnima and it is not just celebrated among siblings but all family members. The people pray to Shiva and offer their obeisances. All the elder members of the family and visiting relatives tie threads to each other and the younger family members on their wrists. The men also change their Janau and hance, the name. Nepalese celebrate the festival by having Kwati, a special preparation made of 7 grains.
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Apart from the different names and different ways in which the festival is celebrated, there are parts of the country like South India, that do not celebrate Raksha Bandhan at all! However, they do celebrate other festivals on the same day.
1. Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and some parts of Uttar Pradesh
In these three states, it is not Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan that is celebrated but another festival by the name of Kajari Purnima that is celebrated. Kajari Purnima is the festival of farmers and for mothers. Farmers worship their land and mothers only with sons (quite a sexist ritual, this) perform a special pooja. The festivities begin almost a week before Kajari Purnima. The farmers wives go to their fields and bring back some soil from the fields in leaves. The soil is then planted with barley and kept in one part of the house which is completely scrubbed and decorated. After 7 days, the put is taken and submerged in a well or the river by the women while praying for the longevity of their sons.
2. Tamil Nadu, Kerala, parts of Orissa and Maharashtra
Avani Avittam is celebrated in parts of Southern India on the full moon night during the month of Shravan. The festival is for all the male members in the family. The Brahmins mostly celebrate the festival where they take a dip in the water and ask for the atonement of all their past sins. After the ritual, the holy thread or the Janau that is tied across the body is changed and they wear a new one. While changing the thread, they promise to be good and perform good actions the coming year. On this day, scholars also commence the reading of the Yajur Veda which is then carried on for the next 6 months.
The state of Gujarat celebrates the festival of Pavitropana along with the festival of Raksha Bandhan. Both festivals are celebrated on the same day. Women worship Lord Shiva and pour water on the Shivlinga. They visit temples and ask for forgiveness of their past sins.