Rakshabandhan in the Northeastern part of India – Shravan Purnima
The festival of Rakhi has become a mainstream event over the years in North-east India. People of the north-eastern region celebrate the festival with full fervour. States like Assam and Tripura celebrate the festival more enthusiastically as there are a large number of Hindu people living in those states. However, the festival of Rakhi is no longer confined to Hinduism. People of all faiths tie the thread of protection on the wrist of their siblings. Some children celebrate the festival by tying the sacred thread on the wrist of their friends to symbolise their importance in life.
The Western Coastal Regions Including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa – Nariyal Purnima
This festival is very important for those living in the coastal areas, especially the fisher folk, who are predominantly dependent on the sea for their livelihood. Rakhi Purnima is the time when the Monsoons start retreating and the ferocious sea calms down. The new fishing season begins and the fishermen offer coconuts to the sea as a thanksgiving to Lord Varun (The Hindu Rain God).
Gujarat – Pavitropana
The people of Gujarat worship Lord Shiva on this auspicious day. As per belief, anyone who worships Lord Shiva on this day is rid of all his sins. Pavitropana is made of Pavitras, a few filaments of cotton and kasa grass entwined and knotted together, which is then soaked in a mixture of five products obtained from the cow called Panchgaivya (cow’s ghee, milk, curd, urine and gobar). This thread is then tied around the Shivalinga.
Eastern Parts Including West Bengal And Odisha – Jhulan Purnima
Known as Jhulan Yatra, this festival celebrates the romance between Radha and Krishna. There is a week long spectacular display of beautifully decorated swings along with singing and dancing. This festival is a very important one, especially for the Vaishnavas.
Southern Parts Of India – Avani Avittam
Rakhi Purnima is celebrated as Avani Avittam in South India. On this day the Brahmins change the holy thread called Janeyu that they wear after taking a holy dip. The change of the Janeyu is symbolic of Prayashchitam, atonement of all previous sins and a Mahasankalpam, a vow to live a life of goodness, strength and dignity. Scholars commence the reading of the Yajur Veda on this day.
Central Regions Including Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Uttar Pradesh – Kajari Purnima
This festival is very important for the farmers as the sowing season of wheat and barley begins. According to tradition, only women who have borne sons can perform the rituals of the festival. They collect soil in a cup made of leaves which is then placed in a dark room in the house, and worshipped for seven days before being immersed in a pond or a river. Prayers are offered to Goddess Bagwati for the well being of the family and a good harvest.
Other Celebrations on Rakhi Purnima in India
- Jammu celebrates this festival by flying colourful kites.
- In Uttarakhand the Janeyu is changed for the new one.
An Interesting Fact
In Tamilnadu and other parts of South India, Kanu Pidi is celebrated during Pongal in January when the sisters pray for the well-being of their brothers.
On the day of Raksha Bandhan, the sister ties the traditional holy thread on the wrist of her brother, and prays for his long life and well-being; while the brother promises to protect her from any harm. This ritual followed by sweets, feast, fun and frolic with large family get togethers.
While the different regions of India have a special significance for Rakhi Purnima, on this day the whole country celebrates the love and bond between a brother and a sister. Over a period of time even Raksha Bandhan has evolved and now even sisters tie each other Rakhi. Festivals are a celebration of life. It is a time when families come together and bond. Here is to wishing all the readers a very Happy Raksha Bandhan.