Rakhi Festival: The History and Meaning of Raksha Bandhan + 8 Fantastic Rakhi Gifts, DIY Rakhis and Lots More

Rakhi Festival: The History and Meaning of Raksha Bandhan + 8 Fantastic Rakhi Gifts, DIY Rakhis and Lots More

Every year thousands of sisters tie a rakhi on their brother's wrist and he in turn gives her a gift or a promise. Learn the history behind this custom and take a look at the meaning of Raksha Bandhan. We also have some great gift ideas for your sibling, be it a sister or a brother. These are best suited to Rakhi but you can give them to your sibling all year round as well.

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Why Do We Celebrate the Festival of Rakhi?

Rakhi is the festival that captures the rich cultural spirit and heritage of India. Various parts of the country celebrates this festival with much enthusiasm. Over the time period the mode and way to celebrate this festival has changed but the purpose and inner meaning of the festival has remained same. This festival is celebrated to uphold and keep peace and harmony across the country.

Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is an annual festival and is celebrated by many Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. It is observed on the day of the Hindu Lunar Calendar month of ‘Shraavana’ which typically falls in August. On this day the sisters of all ages tie a talisman or amulet called rakhi around the wrist of their brothers and gifts are exchanged with sweets and chocolates which bring immense happiness to the relationship.

Raksha bandhan is a festival of unconditional love between a brother and a sister. It means the ‘bond of protection’ between people.

How Different Places in India Celebrate Raksha Bandhan

Every festival in India has its own significance and Rakhi is celebrated with a significance to strengthen the brother-sister bond, by tying Rakhi, on the wrist. The festival has many customs related to it in various parts of the country. You can visit during this time to the stated places to witness the grand celebration of the ritual.

Narali Purnima in Maharashtra

Maharashtra, as a coastal state, celebrates ‘Narali Purnima’ along with Raksha Bandhan on the full moon day of Shraavan. The devotees offer coconut to the sea, showing respect to Lord Varun, which is observed by the Koli community of the state. It is also a special day for the fisher folks as it marked as the beginning of the fishing season. They offer coconut to the sea and distribute it as ‘prasad’ among family and friends.

Lumba Rakhi in Rajasthan

Rajasthan celebrates ‘Lumba Rakhi’ which is the custom of tying Rakhi on the bangle of the brother’s wife, along with the brother, by the sisters among the Marwari and Rajasthani Community. Since the wife is known as ‘ardhangini’ or ‘better half’ Raksha Bbandhan festival is incomplete without her.

Pavitropana in Gujarat

In the Gujarati community the festival is also called ‘Pavitropana’ which is a custom where people offer water to Lord Shiva and believes all their sins will be forgiven on this day. This day falls on Purnima during the month of Shravana, and on the eve of Shravana Purnima a special ceremony is performed. A mixture of five cow products is made (called Panchagaivya), a cotton thread dipped into it and tied around a shivalinga to cleanse the person from past sins.

Kajari Purnima in Madhya Pradesh

People in Madhya Pradesh and Bihar celebrates ‘Kajari Purnima’ which is an important festival for the farmers as this day marks as the new beginning of the agricultural season.

Jhulan Purnima in West Bengal

In West Bengal the occasion is known as ‘Jhulan Purnima’, which is the last day of five-day long ritual where Lord Radha and Krishna swing on the ‘jhula’. The swing is decorated with flowers and the Iscon temple at Mayapur had a grand celebration during this time.

Jandhyam Purnima in Uttarakhand

People of Kumaon celebrate Raksha Bandhan and Janopunyu on this day, which is also known as Shravani Purnima as it falls on a full moon in the month of Shravan. On that day, when people change their Janeu (sacred thread), usually worn by Brahmins of the community.

Gamha Purnima in Odisha

On the Raksha Bandhan day, people in Odisha also celebrate the day as Gamha Purnima, when domesticated cows and bullock are decorated and worshiped as God. Some sweet dishes are made from rice paste and coconut filling called ‘Pitha’ and distributed to family and friends.

Performing the Rakhi Rituals

The festival is just for a day, but the preparation start from a few weeks before the actual day. Shopping of colourful Rakhis, buying sweets and chocolates ahead of time, preparing the thali and getting gifts for the siblings is just few important parts of the festival.

The sister takes an early bath and get ready by wearing new clothes. After that she comes to her brother with the decorated ‘thali’ and performs the ‘aarti’. Then comes the best part of tying the beautiful holy thread on the wrist of her brother’s right hand. The ‘tilak’ is made on the brother’s forehead with ‘kumkum. ‘Rice grain and grasses are dispersed on his head and money is moved around his head and given to the poor. This ritual is considered to safeguard him from the evil eye.

Then he is offered with sweets as a token of happiness. Gifts are exchanged between siblings and the day is celebrated with fun and excitement.

Rakhi Gifts for Brothers and Sisters: 3 Gifts that Can Be Used Together

Magnetic Dart Board

Source www.amazon.in

This dart board has a powerful magnet to hold darts in place, eliminating the dangers with eliminating the dangers associated with sharp claws. It has a 17 inch dart board plus 6 colourful darts. It has a simple to install key-hole slot on the back of the board that makes the hanging part much easier. This dart board is safe for the children aging from 6 and up and thus suitable for both children and adult. The siblings of almost all ages will enjoy this indoor activity to the fullest. It is priced at Rs.1,239 on Amazon.

Classic Twister Game

Source www.amazon.in

You can add a burst of fun into any festive party or family night with the hilarious game that ties the partners up in knots. This game features a large mat with two times the number of spots. The classic twister game play has 2 special games which makes it more outrageous and fun. You can chose to play spot elimination to lose the row and make the game more challenging. You can also choose Spinner’s choice, where the spinner chooses the next move. Play the way you like as the last player standing, wins. The price is Rs.470 on Amazon. Shipping costs may be extra.

Mini Movie Projector for Home

Source www.amazon.in

An amazing gift for Rakhi, which can be enjoyed by both siblings in their spare time together. This projector comes with a lens fitted, the lens is made out of durable material and helps in uninterrupted projection. It has a brightness of 1800 lumen that provides a sharp and clear content projection for a great viewing experience. The projector comes with built in stereo speakers which eliminates the hassle of external audio connectivity and they provide excellent sound too. The range of the projector is 40 to135 inch and it ensures a cinema-like experience for the siblings on the go. It is priced at Rs.6,000 on Amazon.

Popular Gifts Your Sibling May Enjoy

Camera Lens Mug

Source www.amazon.in

The Inovera Stainless Steel Camera Lens Coffee Mug with Cookie Holder is a great gift which will keep the beverages warm and the cap can be used as a cookie holder. It has a lens like feeling and a perfect gift for all the photo and camera loving brothers. It comes in a very affordable price of Rs.499. Buy it from amazon.in.

Astronaut Mobile Stand

A creative phone stand can add a fun element to an otherwise mundane day and is a cute decor item for an office desk or bedside table. Get your brother or sister this Astronaut Mobile Stand. This stand can be used to place your phone or tab in both vertical and horizontal direction for your table top. It is priced at Rs.1,099 on Big Small.

Sweet Basket

The Sweet Basket contains the complete set of 2 beaded rakhi, 1 stone studded beaded designer rakhi, beautiful assorted chocolates and roli chawal with attractive container. This is a handy gift for the Rakhi occasion. This will cost you Rs.1,299 on Rakhi Bazaar.

Smart Touch Musical Light and Flower Plant

Source www.cracko.in

Enjoy the sweet fragrance of flower with a stream of gentle music playing from his gift. It is washable and great for indoor or outdoor use. It has a night lamp function and has Bluetooth facility to stream music. It is priced at Rs.999 on cracko.in.

Rakhi Gift Card

Source www.amazon.in

If you are really confused to buy any gift or it is difficult to understand what he likes then the best option is of a gift card which he can use to buy the most wanted things for himself. The gift card comes in denominations of Rs.500, Rs.1,000, Rs.2,000, Rs.7,500, Rs.10,000 and you can also input your own price. Buy them on Amazon.

Make Simple Handmade Rakhis on This Special Occasion

There is nothing like making something from scratch and gift it to your sibling during the Rakhi Festival. For that you will need to spend a little time in arranging the raw materials and make a DIY project for your beloved brother. These are simple, easy but full of love and affection that can make the special Rakhi day a perfect occasion to celebrate.

The gift is the essential part of Rakhi as it brings the inner joy and happiness among the siblings along with the feeling of love. It completes the festival and a surprise gift makes the day of the sister, who actually makes a great effort on this special day.

Handmade Jute Rakhi

This handmade classic Rakhi can be made at home without much materials to buy. You can simply collect the things lying around and make this authentic Rakhi for the celebration.

Jute Rakhi

What you need:
  • Fabric Glue
  • Glitter Tube
  • Kundan
  • Colourful Button
  • A piece of Jute
  • A piece of satin board
  • A piece of foam sheet

How to make it:
  • Take card board and foam sheet to make the base
  • The size of the Rakhi will be as large as the base you want to take
  • Use a pair of scissor and cut the circles and stick them to each other with a glue
  • Once dried apply glue over the surface of the foam sheet circle
  • Place and stick of the button on the centre of the circle
  • Make sure that the button is aligned centrally
  • Cut the jute thread roll approx. 1.5 foot long
  • Take a jute piece and start wrapping around the button on a spiral movement
  • To decorate apply drops of glue and stick kundan stones and glitters
  • Take a roll of satin ribbon and cut half a foot long piece out of it and use it to tie the Rakhi
  • Apply fabric glue in the middle of the ribbon and place the jute base on it.
  • Let the Rakhi dry completely and pack for the day!

Beads Rakhi

Bead Rakhi

What you need:
  • Gold big bead – 4 mm G
  • Gold small beads – 1.5 mm
  • White beads – 3 mm
  • Pear shaped beads
  • Yellow thread
  • Metal Wire
  • Wire cutter

How to make it:
  • Cut the metal wire with the wire cutter around 1.5 inch in length
  • Take the yellow thread and make a thin bunch of 4 threads around 6 inches.
  • Use a needle and in two threads put the pearl white and golden beads
  • Do the same for next two threads and make the same design in both sides.
  • Your beautiful beads Rakhi is ready to wear

Rakhi from Waste Material

Rakhi from Leftover Material

What you need:
  • Cardboard
  • Beads/stones
  • One red large stone
  • Glue
  • Ribbon
  • White stone/ chain made with stone
  • Acrylic Colour

How to make it:
  • Take a cardboard and put the red stone in the middle
  • Take a chain made of small stones or put one after one in a circular way around the red stone with glu
  • Paint the pistachio with your favourite colour and keep aside
  • Take a ribbon and put another cardboard in the centre
  • Stick the pistachios over like a flower and put the stone part over it.
  • Decorate the ribbon as you wish
  • Your Rakhi is ready to use

Ideas to Celebrate Raksha Bandhan in a Different Way

Rakhi festival is the symbol of love and duty with an ardent prayer of prosperity for long life. Of course the traditional ways to celebrate Rakhi is important and every sister like to tie Rakhi on their brother’s hand and exchange gifts and sweets. But why not try out some other out-of-the-box activities that can give you immense happiness from within and deepen your relationship.

  • Plan a fun filled day together
    Make a list of the activities you used to love at childhood or still love doing together with your sibling. That can be swimming, cooking, playing cricket, cycling, trekking, playing soccer and more. Pick out the most loved and happy activity for the day and come back with beautiful memories. This will strengthen your bonding and you will look forward to spend more time together.

  • Have a day at your school
    Revisit your old school and classrooms with your sibling and celebrate Rakhi with your juniors. Have burgers, noodles, chocolates, bread pakoras and anything that you used to crave for in your childhood. Go back to your school canteen and use the tiffin break time for fun activities. Visit your teachers when you go, of course, get a permit beforehand. Be nostalgic with the naughtiest stunts you experienced during your childhood.

  • Experience a feel good feeling together
    If you like to do some good work, then visiting an orphanage and spending time with them is the best thing you can do. This will make their day special as well as your help will boost their future. Carry some simple Rakhis with sweets and chocolate to start the day. You will feel so good and satisfied by seeing the happiness in their face. You can listen to their sibling tales and share your won. Celebrate your day with these kids and be the reason of smile in some innocent faces.

How Tagore Used Raksha Bandhan in the National Movement

Bengal was at its peak in the National Movement in the 19th century and the symbolic bond of Rakhi is an inseparable image from this age. Post-Independence Rabindranath Tagore initiated ‘Rakhi Mahotsava’ in Shantiniketan which illuminates the idea of peaceful coexistence and universal brotherhood. Tagore’s role in bonding the relation between all human beings and not only the relation of a brother and a sister are unique and noticeable. We should always follow and remember the great intention behind the celebration, which is harmony in human relationships.

Rakhi Festival: Then and Now

With the changing times, new generations have created a friendship day celebration with wrist band which is similar to Rakhi. Though the rituals are different, yet the inherent meaning of both are quite similar, to keep the bond of love and friendship stronger. There are various types of Rakhi friendship bands too which are used during these festivals – Feng Shui Rakhi, Bracelet Rakhi, multi coloured thread Rakhi and so on. Over the years the festival has evolved, it has changed into different forms and traditions, but it continues to uphold the sanctity of bonding, love and respect with prayer for long and healthy life.

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From our editorial team

Always keep the meaning and purpose in mind

The festivities and rituals are for pleasure, and to some extent, superficial when compared to the purpose. We often get carried away in the quest for the perfect rakhi or the best possible gift for sister. Take a moment to pause and remember why you're doing any of it, and if there is a way to commemorate your relationship that doesn't necessarily involve things to buy. What's the point of a beautiful rakhi or a gorgeous gift if you spend just a few minutes together, or are constantly fighting over trivial things. Remember what's important and try to look at the larger picture.