Festivals in Indian culture and history have always been of great priority and significance. Festivals that highlight this auspicious bond are celebrated throughout the year. India is a land of diversity where festivals are of utmost importance. It is an occasion which creates gathering, where all family members, relatives, friends and loved ones can meet and share their happiness. Festivals play an important role in our lives. They help us take a break from the tight schedules and create memorable moments.
Raksha Bandhan is one such festival, which brings zeal and smile on the faces of brothers and sisters.
The traditional way to celebrate rakhi
Raksha Bandhan is one of the main festivals in the Hindu religion. No doubt, it is celebrated across the country, but it holds special significance in Northern and Western parts of the country. A special timing is announced by the priests. By this time all the women and girls adorn beautiful attires and get ready for the occasion. Ethnic wear is mostly preferred with new accessories and footwear. Not only women but men are also seen in new attires. The ritual begins when sisters put a tilak on their brother’s forehead followed by tying a rakhi and offering sweets. It is celebrated on the full moon day (Purnima). Sisters pray for their brother’s wellbeing and brothers promise to protect them from all negativity and bleakness.
The COVID-19 scenario is affecting each one of us in some way or the other. Most of the sisters are upset because they can’t visit their brother and commemorate this auspicious occasion. But can COVID really stop a sister from praying to god for her brother’s health?? No!! Changes occur over and over but that can never put an end to any ritual. It rather opens the door for a unique opportunity. For some, COVID has closed the option to go out, therefore they are dependent on the courier facilities; for some the scene is neutral and they have no problem visiting their brothers but sadly there are some who can’t even seek the help of courier facilities. Won’t they feel sad? What is the way out?
How can you celebrate rakhi in a modern way?
The ritual of Raksha Bandhan is solely for brothers and sisters. But with the changing times can’t we bring a slight modification into this custom?
Tie rakhis to COVID warriors:
Doctors, nurses, ward boys, cleaners, ambulance staff and other warriors are working day and night for us. They are also brothers and sisters to someone. Don’t they feel like celebrating Raksha Bandhan? Don’t they miss their sisters and brothers? An urge from all females out there reading this, visit your nearby COVID centres, tie these heroes a knot; a symbol of love and respect for them, show them they are special for all of us and bid them millions of wishes. It's they who are protecting us, saving our lives from this awful virus. They deserve solicitude and honour.
Praise the sweepers, cleaners and vendors:
Who says bonds are shared between the same class or status of people? Aren’t these sweepers, cleaners or vendors humans too? Don’t they have the right to live with respect? We need to break these shackles and set a new blueprint for society. When these paragons visit your place next time stop them, talk for a while, offer them water and spread a smile.
Tie rakhis to plants and trees:
We are indebted to our nature. It has given us so much, therefore it becomes our prime duty to give back something. We can set an example by tying rakhi’s to plants or trees and taking an oath to never cut them unnecessarily. A plea to grow saplings at regular intervals of time and become saviours of our nature. One can even go for handmade ribbons or dhagas. That hardly matters, all that’s important is the consideration and tribute you share for our nature.
Show love for animals and pets:
Aren’t these animals a gift by god to us? It’s our responsibility to protect and feed them. A new custom can be set to tie a knot on their legs, hands or on their neck like a pendant. The sole meaning of this festival is not just tying a rakhi but love and commitment. Why refrain it to brothers and sisters only? All of us need to come forward and join hands to celebrate this festival. Tie this “token of love” to your pets, local dogs or cats, cows and pledge never to harm them.
A step towards spreading equality through this festival
When we hear about Raksha Bandhan the first thing that comes to our mind is “the love between brothers and sisters”. That’s self-explanatory but what if the LGBTQ community starts celebrating or promoting this festival? This will not only spread the message of equality to all but also lead to a beautiful change in the mindset of society. It was a shame how queers had no legal rights earlier and they had to be a victim of mockery and criticism. Now that they are an accepted community, let’s show that they are equally important for our society. Let’s give a new meaning to Raksha Bandhan from this time onwards and spread the message of gender equality and respect for all citizens. Let us mark this day by tying rakhis to all and promise ourselves to treat other lives with impartiality and zero discrimination.
A race for eco-friendly and locally purchased rakhi’s
The market is full of attractive and fancy rakhis. Those colourful variants look very soothing. But are they eco-friendly? It’s high time that we realize the importance of ecological products. Therefore, we need to advance towards non-polluting and organic rakhis. Promoting the ideology of "vocal for local" needs to be implemented along with ecological rakhis. Festivals are carriers of peace and joy in the community. Other than merely celebrating we must also think about the weaker sections of society and try to bring a smile on their faces. Buying rakhis from them, giving small gifts to them, and not just monetary help but politely talking to them and wishing them a good day can add on to this.