Rakhi celebrations in India are marked with a spirit of joy and verve. Days before the festival, markets wear a festive look and mood of the people turns upbeat. Enthusiasm of brothers and sisters too becomes quite noticeable as they start making elaborate plans to turn the festival into joyous family occasion. Though Rakhi celebrations see minor variations in different states the spirit of the festival remains the same. For, everywhere in India, brothers and sisters acknowledge Rakhi festival as the time to develop stronger bonds of love and affection and relive the happy moments shared in the past.
Mood of the Market
A month before Rakhi, markets begin to display the mood of the festival with the mushrooming of Rakhi stalls. To cash in on the sentimental value of the festival, gift shops too come up with whole lot of imaginative Rakhi gifts and Gift hampers to pamper brothers and sisters. Besides, Rakhi is a major business boon for Sweets shops in India.
Time for Family Reunion
As Rakhi is a festival that marks a family reunion those staying away from their sibling start making preparations for a visit to home. There is no greater joy for brothers and sisters than to be together on Rakhi. No wonder, Indian Railways see a very busy time on Raksha Bandhan.
A massive variety of Rakhis hit the market every year to lure the discerning sisters who demand the very best when it comes to buying Rakhi for brothers. Though traditional rakhis adorned with laces, gotas and beads do a tremendous business it is the Rakhis in Silver and Gold that are increasingly catching the fancy of loving behnas these days. The advantage with silver and gold Rakhis is that they double up as a Rakhi Gift as they are used as a bracelet too. A wide range of Thread Rakhis and imaginatively designed Kids Rakhis can also be seen in the Rakhi stalls.
Online Rakhi Shopping
Sisters staying away from their brothers make it a point to send Rakhi through post, courier or online medium. These days various Rakhi shopping sites provide sisters an option to send Rakhi along with Rakhi gifts at the click of the mouse. Sending paper Rakhi Cards and E-Rakhi Cards is also a fad amongst siblings in this technology driven age.
Sisters are especially excited about Rakhi celebrations. They plan their Rakhi dress days ahead of the occasion. As the festival is a traditional one, women like to go for sarees, lehangas or salwar kameez. They further adorn themselves with lots of jewelry and gajras in hair. However, the most special part of their attire is the intricate henna or mehndi pattern that they apply on palms. Affection of brothers adds an unmistakable glow on their face making them look gorgeous on Rakhi. Style conscious Indian brothers, too, wear traditional clothes like kurta payjama, Pathani suits or Kurta-Jeans to mark the joyous festival.
On the Rakhi day, a sister worship the family deities first and then make the brothers sit on an asana. She then applies tilak on brothers forehead and performs arti of him. After this, she ties the Rakhi thread on the brothers right wrist. Sister chants a special rakhi mantra and prays for her brothers health and longevity as she ties the Rakhi. When the ceremony is over sister and brother share a piece of sweet. After this, the brother blesses his sister and vows to take care of her under all circumstances. In some communities Rakhi is also tied on the wrist of brothers wife. This Rakhi for bhabhi or sister-in-law is called lumba and is different from brothers Rakhi.
Exchange of Gifts
Brothers are traditionally bound to give their sisters a token of their love and appreciation after the completion of Rakhi ceremony. Depending on brothers economic status, the gift could be a piece of jewelry, clothes, some utility item or a box of sweets or chocolates. These days, sisters too, take advantage of the occasion and present Rakhi gifts to brothers that could be a shirt, a wrist watch, perfumes etc along with a box of sweets or dry fruits. Exchange of gifts between siblings gives family another reason to celebrate. Later, the family gathers to relish the best of festive food prepared by the sister.