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Friday, October 15, 2021

Happy Dussehra or Vijayadashami | Importance and Significance of Navratri

India is a land of festivals and celebrations. One or the other festival is celebrated in some part of the country throughout the year. All festivals convey the message of love, brotherhood and unity. They are celebrated by all Indians. Dussehra is an important festival. It is also known as Vijyadashmi. Dussehra or Vijayadashami is an important Hindu festival which signifies the victory of god over evil. This annual festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour by Hindus across the world on the tenth day of the Navratras, which falls on the tenth day of Ashwin or Kartik months as per the Hindu calendar. As mentioned earlier, Dussehra or Vijayadashami has various stories behind it and so the festival is celebrated in different ways across India. For instance, in most states in North or Western India, Dussehra is celebrated in honour of Lord Rama. Ram lilas, which are re-enactment of musical plays based on the Ramcharitramanas are performed leading to Dussehra when large effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakaran and Meghanad are burnt down.

On the contrary, in many places in South India, the festival is celebrated in honour of Maa Saraswati-- Hindu Goddess of knowledge and arts. On this day, people clean and worship their instruments of livelihood and seek Goddess Saraswati's blessings. In Western India, especially in Gujarat, people observe fasts and worship the nine avatars of Goddess Durga for the nine days of Navratras leading to Dussehra or Vijayadashami. Dandiya and Garba are played during these nine days. On the tenth day, Maa Durga's idol is immersed in water signifying her return to Mount Kailash with Lord Shiva. Meanwhile, in West Bengal Durga Puja leads to Vijayadashami, also called Bijoy Dashomi, where in clay statues of Maa Durga are immersed in water bodies thus bidding a farewell to the Goddess. Right before the immersion, Bengali women indulge in Sindoor Khela wherein they apply vermilion (sindoor) on each other and wear red clothing-- ths signifying Maa Durga's victory.

During the nine days preceding to Dussehra or Durga Puja, devotees in the eastern states worship the nine avatars of Goddess Durga. Each of these nine forms represent a different side of Goddess Durga. Maa Bramhacharini is seen as a symbol of peace and purity, while Maa Kushmanda is believed to be the source of all energy in the Universe. People also prefer to buy new vehicles, properties or other new things on the day of Dussehra. It is an auspicious occasion and is believed to be the perfect day to start a new project or business. Devotees distribute gifts and sweets among their relatives and friends and also believe in celebrating this festival with their close ones. People often pray for a new beginning in their lives and also ask for forgiveness for any wrongdoings. Dussehra celebration is an important part of Indian culture. The vibrant colours, the huge idols and the relatable themes are a major attraction for foreign tourists. It holds a special place in the hearts of devotees and is usually followed by the festival of lights – Diwali.

Navratri is considered as an important sacred festival in the Hindu religion. Navratri worships Goddess Durga and her various forms which are the epitomes of power and have the ability to bring in anything desired. Not to forget it were these 9 Goddesses (NavDurga) who were able to conquer the most dangerous demon who could not be defeated by any of the other superpowers. Hence, you could have understood the importance and significance of these 9 days which are the most powerful of all. Navratri in India is a big religious festivity for nine propitious days. The celebration goes on for these favorable days with different rituals and customs in distinct parts. These nine days have a great significance in Hindu culture and religion. The worshipers adore their mother in beautiful incarnations with incompatible celebrations for nine consecutive days of Navratri. Here is the importance of Navratri Celebration.

Goddess Shakti exists in numerous ferocious as well as innocent manifestations; hence the celebration of each day of Navratri is dedicated to each Goddess embodiment for nine sacred days. Navratri is revered to show utter devotion and respect to Goddess and thus recognized with full devotion, zeal, and enthusiasm all over the country.It is believed that Mother Durga defeated the demon- Mahishasura on this festivity, therefore the solemnization begins with lightening the houses, temples and other divine places to spread happiness and gaiety all the corners. 

In North India, the nine-day festival Chaitra Navratri is observed to celebrate the victory of Rama over Ravana. During the festival, people dress up in traditional clothing, observe fasts, and offer prayers. Being one of the celebrated and distinguished religious occurrences for the Hindu community, this festival has become the most reverenced holy occasion.The occasion exhibits the victory of good over evil, thence the sacred glee starts with fasting, decorations, bhajans. People also invite small girls for the bhog and Prasad followed by placing goddesses’ images during the last days.In Hindu narrations, Chaitra Navratri is also termed as Vasant/ Basant Navratri since this divine revelry marks the beginning of Vasant Ritu or Spring Season in Indian culture.

'Navratri' means 'nine nights.' 'Nava' means 'nine,’ and 'Ratri' means 'night.' The saints have given more significance. Understanding it scientifically; night is peaceful and quiet, tantra-mantra and other supernatural things are in a strong position. It is easy to concentrate at the night. Chanting Mantra in a peaceful environment yields auspicious results. Many obstacles of nature are removed. This time may be used for gaining mental power and Yogic powers. Scientifically, performing things during the day increases the chances of problems in concentrating; just the way radio signals face problems during day time but improve in the night. The sound of the bells and conch kills Germs up-to far-away places. This period is used for Siddhi for fulfilling wishes. We worship the divine power to bestow upon all of us enough potent powers to maintain our physical and mental balance. Then they keep Shradha to remember our ancestors. So we can remember the beautiful memory those we have spent with our grandfather, grandmother & others. When we think about those happy moments, our Satwa goes up, so our energy level goes up.

On the first day, Devi Shailaputri (శైలపుత్రి-గాయత్రీదేవి) is worshipped. Devi Parvati is revered as the daughter of Himalaya Raja. Shaila means extraordinary or rising to great heights. The divine consciousness represented by Devi always surges from the peak. On this first day of Navratri, we propitiate Devi Shailaputri so that we may also attain the highest state of consciousness.

Devi Brahmacharini is propitiated. Devi Brahmacharini is the form of Devi Parvati in which she undertook severe penance to have Lord Shiva as Her consort. Brahma means divine consciousness and achar refers to behavior. This day is especially sacred to meditate and explore our inner divinity. Brahmacharya is the behavior or an act that is established in divine consciousness. 

Chandraghata is the special form that Devi Parvati assumed at the time of Her marriage with Lord Shiva. Chandra refers to the moon. The moon represents our mind. The mind is restless and keeps moving from one thought to another. Ghanta is a bell which produces only one kind of sound always. This day thus signifies withdrawing from all vagaries of the mind, with a single focus on Mother Divine. The significance is that when our mind is established at one point, i.e Divine, then our prana (subtle life force energy) gets consolidated leading to harmony and peace. 

On the fourth day, Mother Divine is worshipped as Devi Kushmanda. Kushmanda means a pumpkin. Ku means little, ushma means energy and anda refers to egg. This entire universe which arose from the cosmic egg (hiranyagarbha) is manifested from an infinitesimal energy of Devi. On this day, we worship Devi Kushmanda who showers us with Her divine energy. A pumpkin also represents prana as it has the unique property of absorbing and radiating prana. It is one of the most pranic vegetables. 

Skandamata means Mother of Skanda. On the fifth day, the motherly aspect of Devi Parvati is worshipped. In this form, she is the mother of Lord Karthikeya. She represents motherly affection (vatsalya). Worshiping this form of Devi brings abundance of wisdom, wealth, power, prosperity and liberation.

It is a form that Mother Divine assumed to annihilate the demonic forces in the universe. She was born from the anger of the gods. She is the one who slayed Mahishasura. As per our scriptures, anger that supports dharma (righteousness) is acceptable. Devi Katyayani represents that divine principle and form of the Mother Divine who is behind natural calamities and disasters. She is the anger that arises in creation to restore balance. Devi Katyayani is invoked on the sixth day to put an end to all our inner foes that are an obstacle on the path of spiritual evolution.

Mother Nature has two extremes. One is terrifying and devastating. The other is beautiful and serene. Devi Kalaratri is a fierce form of Devi. Kalaratri represents the dark night. Night is also considered an aspect of Mother Divine as it is night that brings solace, rest and comfort to our souls. It is only at night that we get a glimpse of infinity in the skies. Devi Kalaratri is that infinite dark energy that houses innumerable universes.

Devi Mahagauri is that which is beautiful, gives momentum and freedom in life. Mahagauri represents the beautiful and serene aspect of Nature. She is that energy which propels our lives and also liberates us. She is the Devi who is worshipped on the eighth day.

Siddhi means perfection. Devi Siddhidatri brings perfection in life. She makes the impossible, possible. She takes us beyond the ever reasoning logical mind to explore the realm beyond time and space.

Like all other festivals in India, Dussehra is observed with much enthusiasm and fervor by people of all ages. Though people from various corners of India celebrate this festival, the significance and mode of celebrations differ from place to place. Here are some of the key highlights of the celebration:

Processions: In some parts of the country where Vijaya Dashami is observed, people take out large processions and carry the idols of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh, and Kartik to a river or large water body for immersion. Such processions are marked by music, singing, dancing, and a mood of merriment. Ram Leela: Elsewhere, people take part in Ram Leelas, which are dance dramas depicting the epic of Ramayana. In these musicals, people including children dress up as characters from Ramayana and enact the scenes. These plays continue for nine days prior to the final act of killing Ravana on the Dussehra day. Ravan Dahan: In some other places, the main attraction of Dussehra is Ravan Dahan. It involves the burning of towering effigies of Ravana along with those of his brother Kumbhakaran and son Meghnad. The burning of effigies symbolizes – oh, that’s a no-brainer – the destruction of evil. Besides these, people also burst crackers and feast with their family and friends. Colorful fairs and exhibitions are put up at many places that add to the frenzied atmosphere of the festival.


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Eco-friendly Ganesha idols versus the traditional Plaster Of Paris PoP

Ganesh Chaturthi, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is one of the most celebrated festivals of the Hindus that marks the birth of Lord The tradition of Ganesh VisarjanOn the last day of the festival, the tradition of Ganesh Visarjan takes place. The concluding day of the 10-day: festival is also popularly known as Anant Chaturdashi. As the word 'visarjan' implies, on this day immersion ('visarjan' means immersion) of Lord Ganapati's idol takes place in a river, sea or water body. On the first day of the festival, the devotees mark the beginning of Ganesh Chaturthi with the placement of Lord Ganesha's idol in their homes, public places and offices. On the last day, the devotees come out in processions carrying the idols of their beloved God and perform immersion. 

There is an interesting story behind the legend of Ganesh visarjan. It is believed that Lord Ganesha returns to Mount Kailash to join his parents Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on the last day of the festival. The celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi also denotes the significance of the cycle of birth, life and death. Ganesha, who is also known as the Lord of New Beginnings, is also worshipped as the Remover of Obstacles. It is believed that when the idol of the Ganesha is taken out for immersion, it also takes away with it the various obstacles of the house and these obstacles are destroyed along with the visarjan. Every year, people wait with great anticipation to celebrate the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. And like always, we also hope that this year too, the Remover of Obstacles will shower us with his blessings and wipe out all the struggles from our life.

Go Green
All You Need To Know About Plaster Of Paris (PoP) Idols. I am sure you won’t buy Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols for Ganesha Festival or Durga Pooja after listening this.POP and Shadu Clay have been the predominant materials used to make the idols. POP has gained more popularity in very lesser time. Every year, thousands of POP idols find their way to market and get sold out. But what makes POP so popular? POP idols are so popular because, people love them and artists love to make them. Every year, after the end of the Vinayaka Chavithi festivities, officials of government agencies and NGOs are faced with the arduous task of clearing tonnes of debris and garbage from the city beaches. Environmentalists have repeatedly pointed to the dangers of using Plaster of Paris (PoP) in making the idols but till date, there has been no clear policy on this issue. 

Several governments have made efforts to ban the sale of PoP idols but the move has faced tough resistance. Experts say that the main issue here is the absence of a detailed study on the matter and the lack of a sustained campaign to highlight the dangers of using polluting substances in the making of idols. "If we look at the chemical composition of PoP, the material is developed by heating gypsum in temperatures ranging from 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It again turns to gypsum when it comes in contact with water. 

Gypsum is a naturally occurring substance, and the idol-makers argue that it is harmless. On the other side, there is an argument that PoP and the chemical paints that are used to colour the idols contain heavy metals, which are toxic," said Prof. P.V.V. Prasada Rao, Head of the Department of Environment Sciences at Andhra University. The paint that is used contains heavy metals such as lead and cadmium, which can lead to neurological disorders and cancer. 

A senior biologist from AU said that once the PoP idols are immersed in water, be it in a river or the sea, the heavy metals present in the idols are dissolved in the water and enter the food chain through marine species and agricultural produce. Environmentalist Bolisetti Satyanarayana said that once PoP idols are immersed, the material turns to gypsum paste and damages the ecology of water bodies and causes a drop in dissolved oxygen. The toxic chemicals used in painting the idols also increase the toxin levels in the water.

Advantages of Plaster of Paris (PoP): Light-weight, Durable, Easy to mould into any shape, Has low thermal conductivity, Good for fire resistance and heat insulation It doesn’t shrink while setting. Therefore, it does not develop cracks on heating or setting. Easy to mix up with water. Easy to spread and level. It has good adhesion on fibrous materials,Doesn’t react with paint and does not cause alkali attack, Provides a lot of shine and smoothness to the surface.

Disadvantages of Plaster of Paris (PoP): Not suitable for exterior finish as it is slightly soluble in water, Cost is higher than the cement or cement lime plaster., Not suitable for moist situations PoP idols are not eco friendly. Skilled labour is required for precise application of plaster of Paris, which results in higher labour cost. Awareness on the rise. Vinayaka Chavithi celebrations were mostly limited to households. 

But over the years, public celebrations have gained ground. Today, in the city alone, about 2,000 pandals are erected and in most cases, the idols exceed a height of four feet. "Till about five to six years ago, 90% of the idols installed in the pandals were made of PoP, but now there is a slow but steady change with organisers coming forward to use clay or eco-friendly idols," said an officer from the A.P. Pollution.

4 reasons an eco-friendly: Eco-friendly Ganesha idols versus the traditional Plaster Of Paris ones. While the ones made of POP are very attractive, cheap and easy to make, the eco-friendly ones can do a lot of good for your health and the environment at large. Eco-friendly Ganesha idols are those that are made of clay, natural fibers, paper and other biodegradable materials. These idols, when immersed in water degrade faster and do not harm the environment as much as the ones made of POP. So, to help you make the move towards a more eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturti, here are reasons an eco-friendly Ganesha idol is the best way to go.

Does not pollute natural water sources: One big drawback of Ganesha idols made of POP is the fact that POP does not degrade easily, leading to severe consequences like polluted water. The material also increases the acid content of water sources and can kill natural life in the water. While we may not think much of this, you must realise that life that survives in water are an essential part of our ecology. Not only do they help keep the water pure and healthy but they also help keep common pests like mosquitoes at bay (fish found in lakes and ponds feed on mosquitoes keeping their numbers in check). Apart from all this studies have found that people who use this polluted water suffer from a host of medical conditions like infections, lung disease, ailments related to the skin, blood and eyes. Metal content in water affects the quality of foods: POP contains chemicals like magnesium, gypsum, phosphorus and sulphur. The dyes that are commonly used to decorate these idols also contain mercury, cadmium, arsenic, lead, and carbon. 

When these idols are immersed in common water sources (like the sea, ponds, lakes, etc.) it gets contaminated with high amount of metal and other chemicals which kill fish and plants that live in water. Not only does this lead to a phenomenon called 'dead water body', where the water body cannot harbour any life forms, but could also lead to heavy metal poisoning caused due to the consumption of fish contaminated with these metals. When ingested these heavy metals are known to interfere with several systems of the body. 

Dyes and glitter on POP idols can harm you as well. Apart from all the above risks, the dyes that are commonly used to colour Ganesha idols made of POP can be harmful to you and your family. Apart from that the glitter that is often used to add that special sparkle to the idol may also rub off on your hands and clothes. When inhaled this glitter can cause damage to your lungs, affect your eyes and even cause allergies in some. In contrast an eco-friendly Ganesha idol poses none of those risks.

Eco-friendly Ganesha idols can be a family-bonding exercise The best part about owning an eco-friendly Ganesha idols is the fact that you can make them yourself. You might need some guidance initially, but later it can be a lot of fun to create your own idol. The whole activity can be a great way of family bonding and allows you and your family members an opportunity to unleash their creativity. You can choose from a variety of materials like paper mache, clay, aata and even turmeric to make your very own eco-friendly Ganesha idol.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Krishna Janmashtami | History | Significance | Celebrations

Happy Janmashtami! May Lord Krishna come to your house & take away all your maakhan and mishri along with all your worries & sorrow. Let there be love, happiness and laughter in your life with Lord Krishna's blessings. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Janmashtami!

Janmashtami festival mark the birth of Lord Krishna who is lovingly known as Kanha. He is considered as one of the most powerful human incarnations of the Lord Vishnu. Dahi Handi is one of the most festive event of the Janmashtami celebration. Let us have a look at the story behind the Janmashtami festival celebration and about Dahi Handi.

Janmashtami festival is widely celebrated across the country and the day marks the birth of Lord Krishna. Janmashtami is also known as Krishna Janmashtami or Gokulashtami. It is celebrated every year on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha or dark fortnight in the month of Bhadrapada according to the Hindu calendar.

Janmashtami is celebrated as the birthday of Ruler Krishna. In Mathura, the city of Devil Ruler Kansa, Ruler Krishna was born within the jail of the Lord as the eighth child of Devaki on the eighth day of the dull fortnight of Bhadrapada month. It was midnight and Moon was rising along side Rohini Nakshatra when he was born. Consequently, Krishnashtami commemorates the birthday of Ruler Krishna each year. It is accepted that on this day, Sri Maha Vishnu, who is the preserver or sustainer of life, incarnated on Soil as Sri Krishna to battle disasters. Sri Krishna is considered as the eighth incarnation of Sri Maha Vishnu.

Sri Krishna was born around 5,200 a long time prior in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, which is additionally alluded to as Dwapar Yuga..Devotees on this day watch quick and offer supplication to the divinity for great wellbeing and joy. The Puja custom takes put at midnight as Sri Krishna was born at midnight in a imprison where his mother and father were bolted by his uncle Kansa.

Old King Ugrasena of Mathura had two children, Prince Kamsa and Princess Devaki. While King Ugrasena was a good king, Prince Kamsa was a ruthless tyrant. Now Princess Devaki was to wed a nobleman named Vasudeva. Kamsa out of the love he bore for his sister decided to be the bride and groom’s charioteer for the day. While Kamsa drove the chariot bearing Devaki and Vasudeva out of the wedding hall, a voice from the heavens boomed informing Kamsa that Devaki’s eight child would be his slayer. Kamsa being the superstitious type would take no chances. He wanted to strike down Devaki that very moment. Vasudeva intervened, he begged Kamsa not to slay Devaki and show her some mercy. He further promised Kamsa that he would hand over any child born to them, if he would let Devaki live. Now Kamsa not wanting to have the blood of his sister on his hands agreed and instead placed them under house arrest.

Every time a child was born, the guards would inform Kamsa and he would take the child and kill it. Six of Devaki and Vasudev’s children met their death this way. It so happened that the seventh child was born at night, and Devaki and Vasudeva seeing the opportunity decided to try to save the child. The guards were asleep, so Vasudeva easily slid out of the palace undetected. He went to neighboring Gokul and left the child with his second wife Rohini and quickly returned to the palace (this child was named Balrama). In the morning he sent word to Kamsa that the child was still born.

Kamsa was pleased, he knew the next child was prophesized to be his slayer. Not wanting to take chances with the birth of the eight child, Kamsa had Vasudeva and Devaki thrown into the dungeon chained. The 8th child was born on the eight night of the month of Shravan. It was raining heavily and the skies thundered as if the Gods were trying to pay homage to the new born child. Then the miracle happened, Vasudeva’s chains fell off and the prison door opened by itself. Vasudeva found the guards to be asleep, so he decided that he would escape with the child and leave him at his friend Nanda’s place in Gokul.

Picking up the child, Vasudeva placed him in a basket. He then carried the basket on his head and made his way to Gokul. Now Gokul was on the opposite bank of the river Yamuna. Because of the thundering and the rain, the river Yamuna was in a state of turmoil. Vasudeva, wondering how he would cross the river prayed for a miracle. Then it happened!. The waters of the Yamuna parted and made way for him. Vasudeva then crossed the Yamuna and reached Gokul.

On reaching Nanda’s house in Gokul, Vasudeva realized that Nanda’s wife Yashoda had given birth to a baby girl. While Nanda and Yashoda were asleep, he placed his child in the cradle and took Nanda’s daughter instead. He presumed that since it was a baby girl, Kamsa would not kill her. He then made the journey back to Mathura and he took the baby girl with him. As soon as Vasudeva reached the dungeon, the dungeon doors closed behind him and the baby girl started to cry. Awakened by the cries, the guards rushed to tell Kamsa of the birth of the eight child. Hearing the news, Kamsa rushed to the dungeon and picked up the child and was about to dash it to the ground. Vasudeva begged Kamsa not to kill the child as it was only a girl and that a girl could do him no harm. The wicked Kamsa paid no heed and dashed the baby to the floor. As the baby was about to hit the floor, it suddenly flew up and told Kamsa that the one who was born to kill him still lives and is in Gokul. Then she disappeared.

The actual celebration of Krishna Janmashtami takes place during the midnight because it is believed that Lord Krishna was born on a dark, stormy and windy night to end the rule of his maternal uncle Kansa. In the whole of India, it is celebrated with devotional songs, people keep the fast whole day, several temples were decorated beautifully dedicated to the life journey of Krishna. Mainly, the Janmashtami celebration at Mathura and Vrindavan is very special as he had spent his life there. The image of Krishna at midnight is bathed in water and milk then he dressed in new clothes and worshipped. Sweets are first offered to God and then distributes as Prasada. Also, on this day people used to hang pots of butter and milk in the streets on the poles, men form pyramids to reach and break the pots. It is famous as Dahi Handi. This predicts Krishna's childhood days when he used to play with the cowherd's boys and stole curds hung out of reach by their mothers. So, he was also known as ‘Makhanchor’ the one who steals butter. People used to sing, dance in groups. So, now you may have come to know about the interesting story behind the Janmashtami festival and how is it celebrated.


Saturday, August 21, 2021

Raksha Bandhan

Sending you a thread of love which will bind our heart and life and makes our bond of togetherness stronger. Happy Raksha Bandhan! Wishing you a very Happy Raksha Bandhan!!

The festival of Raksha Bandhan will be celebrated on August 26 and it is considered as one of the most important festivals in Hinduism. The name, Raksha Bandhan, translates to ‘Protection Bond’, which signifies the promise to protect. On this auspicious day, sisters tie ‘Rakhi’ around the wrist of their brothers. The Rakhi thread is considered as sacred because it reminds of the promise a brother makes to her sister that he will protect her until death. On the occasion, sisters pray for the good health and well being of their brothers and in lieu get gifts from their brother.

Celebrated on the full-moon day of the Hindu month of Sravana (July/August), this festival celebrates the love of a brother for his sister. On this day, sisters tie rakhi on the wrists of their brothers to protect them against evil influences, and pray for their long life and happiness. They in turn, give a gift which is a promise that they will protect their sisters from any harm. Within these Rakhis reside sacred feelings and well wishes. This festival is mostly celebrated in North India.

Meaning of Raksha Bandhan
The festival is made up of two words, namely "Raksha" and "Bandhan." As per the Sanskrit terminology, the occasion means "the tie or knot of protection" where "Raksha" stands for the protection and "Bandhan" signifies the verb to tie. Together, the festival symbolizes the eternal love of brother-sister relationship which does not mean just the blood relationships only. It is also celebrated among cousins, sister and sister-in-law (Bhabhi), fraternal aunt (Bua) and nephew (Bhatija) and other such relations.

History: The history of Rakshabandhan dates back to Hindu mythology. As per Hindu mythology, in Mahabharata, the great Indian epic, Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas had torn the corner of her sari to prevent Lord Krishna's wrist from bleeding (he had inadvertently hurt himself). Thus, a bond, that of brother and sister developed between them, and he promised to protect her.

It is also a great sacred verse of unity, acting as a symbol of life's advancement and a leading messenger of togetherness. Raksha means protection, and in some places in medieval India, where women felt unsafe, they tie Rakhi on the wrist of men, regarding them as brothers. In this way, Rakhi strengthens the bond of love between brothers and sisters, and revives the emotional bonding. Brahmins change their sacred thread (janoi) on this day, and dedicate themselves once again to the study of the scriptures.

Importance of Raksha Bandhan among various religions in India
Hinduism- The festival is mainly celebrated by the Hindus in the northern and western parts of India along with countries like Nepal, Pakistan and Mauritius.
Jainism- The occasion is also revered by the Jain community where Jain priests give ceremonial threads to the devotees.
Sikhism- This festival devoted to the brother-sister love is observed by the Sikhs as "Rakhardi" or Rakhari.

Importance of Raksha Bandhan
As we all know, siblings carry a special place in our hearts. However, the particular bond of a brother and sister is very unique. The care they have for each other knows no bounds. The love they share is beyond compare. 

No matter how much they fight with one another, they always stand behind them in support. Brothers and sisters fight with each other over trivial matters. In other words, they share a bond which is full of teasing and love.

Brothers and sisters help us grow. At every stage of our lives, the bond between them grows stronger. They stand with each other through thick and thin. The elder brothers are very protective of their sisters. Similarly, elder sisters care a lot for their younger brothers. The younger ones look up to their elder siblings.

Raksha Bandhan is all about celebrating this bond. It is a symbolism of the unique and special relationship shared by the two. This day has been rightly recognized to have a good time and focus on this beautiful bond. It serves as a symbol of their love, togetherness, and confidence in each other.

Occasion of Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan is a time for pampering for the sisters. On this auspicious occasion, the sisters tie a sacred thread i.e. rakhi, on their brother’s wrist. It is done so with the intent to wish good health and long life. On the other hand, the brothers, in turn, bless their sisters and pledge to protect them and care for them all their lives. The sisters receive a lot of love and pampering on this day. It is in the form of chocolates, gifts, money, dresses and more.

The family members dress up for this occasion, usually in ethnic wear. We see the markets flooded with colorful rakhis and gifts. Every year, fashionable and trendiest rakhis do the rounds of the market. Women shop for the perfect rakhis for their brothers and the men go out to buy gifts for their sisters. 

In conclusion, Raksha Bandhan is one of the most enjoyable festivals. It gives the brother and sister to strengthen their bond. Nowadays, even sisters who do not have brothers celebrate Raksha Bandhan with their sisters. The essence of the festival remains the same nonetheless.