Uncovered: How to do Raksha Bandhan

We have a beautiful day in the Indian culture called Raksha Bandhan! You could akin it to a yearly ‘siblings day’. This article explains the why, when and how, including a step by step guide with everything you need to know behind the powerful ceremony which is practiced on this day.

Our siblings are the ones who know us the longest, through everything that has been and everything that is to come. Our cousins are also considered siblings in the tight knit Indian community and so we rise and grow stronger in the network of love and support we share with each other on this day and throughout the year.

Raksha’ means ‘protection’ and Bandhan’ means ‘to tie’.

As east meets west, and Black Friday and Valentines makes its way to India, I think it’s a beautiful tradition which we could share back in return!

We could all do with a little extra love and support, right?

Here’s how…

When does it happen?

Full moon is a powerful time to use the energies of the universe to manifest what you want in life. The date changes from year to year as it is tied to the lunar calendar. Raksha Bandhan will fall on the full moon of the holy month of Shravan.
Pop these raksha bandhan dates for the next 5 years in your calendar:

15/08 2019
03/08/2020
22/08/2021
11/08/2022
30/08/2023

Why does it happen?

It all draws back to a story from the ancient text Maharabata.

On this day, Krishna cut his finger on a sugar cane. His queen sent for help to get a bandage. Draupadi, his sister who was watching tore off a part of her sari to use as a bandage, cover the wound and start healing process. Astounded by this act of kindness, Krishna promised to return her love with protection throughout the year.

It’s a tradition which has evolved to symbolise and strengthen the relationship between siblings. In recent more days, sisters and good friends are also tying rakhi’s to represent their love.

What do I need?

  • Rakhi – a plain or decorated string representing your bond
  • Mithai – a sweet to give your sibling strength
  • Kum Kum – vermillon powder with a drop of water representing protection
  • Gift/Money Envelope – offered from brother to sister
  • Diya: a candle representing hope
  • Incense: to clear away bad energy
  • Puja Thali – a plain or decorative plate to hold the items for your ceremony

(All of these things are nice for the ceremony, but optional, if you send the right intention and tie the string, that’s what truly matters!)

What happens?

The sister ties a symbolic string around the wrist of her brother, she sends her deepest wishes of love, strength and protection. In return you get a little envelope or gift! I honestly believe that anything done with pure intention is passed over energetically. So don’t hesitate to put your heart into this. A ceremony is an incredible way for this transmission to happen. And siblings, every year get a ‘check in’ to remember there’s always someone that’s got their back.

Raksha Bandhan step by step:

1. Prepare your Puja Thali plate with all of the items listed

2. Light your candle and you can optionally clear the energy of the room by lighting an incense stick

3. Approach awaiting brother with your plate, summon deep intentions of love, strength, health and anything else you wish for. Tie the string as a symbol of this. Brother you can be sending the promise of love and protection back to your sister. The action is a transmission of thought, energy and intention.

4. Sister uses the ring finger which is connected to the heart to mark in-between the eyebrows of your brother with the kumkum vermillon powder. This is his third eye centre and scientifically, the seat of his pineal gland which serves to produce all of the hormones needed in his body. You can send him intentions of mental strength.

5. Feed him something sweet with intentions to give him physical strength

6. Brother offers sister a gift or envelope with money in it as an exchange for her blessing!

7. HUG!

I hope this was helpful and that we can keep this tradition alive for many generations to come. Explain to your children the story. The strength provided through the power of intention and action is next to none. Let’s support our brothers, sisters, cousins and friends with the beauty of Raksha Bandhan.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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