Raksha bandhan or Rakhi is a popular annual rite and a traditional Hindu festival. On this day sisters of all age groups tie a talisman or an amulet called Rakhi, around the wrist of their brothers, symbolically protecting them from the evil and in return they get the gifts and invest a responsibility for brothers to protect them and take their potential care.
Raksha bandhan is observed on the last day of Hindu Lunar Calendar, which falls in August, in the month of Shravana. The word “Rakshabandhan” in Sanskrit literally means “The bond of protection, obligation and care”.
Raksha bandhan is also known as “Rakhi Purnima” as it falls on the full moon day of Hindu month Shravana. The month of Shravana is the month of Gods and Pujans. And the full moon day is one of the important days of all.
Different regions have different rituals and customs to celebrate this festival. Let us see how many different regions have Rakshabandhan with what names.
1. Western Ghats:
In Western India, and in parts of Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat, Shravana Purnima or full moon day is celebrated as Narali Purnima. Coconut is a vital element of this festival. On this day, a coconut called Narali in Marathi is offered to the sea as a mark of respect to Lord Varuna, the god of the sea.
In the coastal regions of Maharashtra i.e., Konkan, the coconut is offered to the sea for calming it down after the monsoon season.
Narali Purnima is also the beginning of the rainy season. So, fishermen offered the coconut to the sea so that they can get bountiful fishes for their living and worship Lord Varuna.
2. South India:
In the Southern part of India, states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa and Maharashtra, Rakhi Purnima is known as Avani Avittam. It is also celebrated on the full moon day which falls in the month of Shravana. And typically, it is celebrated on the same day of Rakshabandhan.
Basically, this day is celebrated by Brahmins. This day is known to be very pious and so Brahmins all day long, indulge themselves chanting mantras and worshipping Gods. With the break of dawn, they take bath in the holy river and change their ‘janeyu’ or ‘Yajnopavit’, a holy thread worn across the body especially by Brahmins and men. Then, chanting few ‘shlokas’ from holy books completes the process. They pledge to perform all the duties of a Brahmin as laid down in the books and vow to adopt good conduct and dignity. The ceremony is popularly known as Shravani or Rishi Tarpan. This is the day of taking a great oath or ‘mahasankalpam’. They declare to amend their sins of the past.
3. North India:
In central parts of India such as Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, Shravana Purnima day is celebrated as Kajari Purnima. Generally, this festival falls at the end of the monsoon season and is of great significance to farmers. The festival is a vital celebration for farmers, as it signifies the commencement of the sowing season for wheat and barley.
On the Kajari Purnima day, the grand pooja is performed. All the women move out in procession carrying the leaf cups on their heads. And carry it to a pond or any other riverside and immerse it with great care and worship. Finally, they keep fast the whole day and pray for the well being of their sons.
In parts of Gujarat, Shravana Purnima day is celebrated as Pavitropana. On this holiday, people perform the grand pooja or the worship of Lord Shiva. It is the culmination of the prayers done throughout the year.
All the temples of Lord Shiva in Gujarat are highly decorated with special flowers. Then people offer water, milk, coconut water, honey and curd on the Shiva Linga. It is believed that worshipping Lord Shiva with these things will satisfy him and in return, he will shower his devotees with a bounty of everything—good luck, good health and prosperity in all. Generally, Lord Shiva pooja is performed on Mondays and if Shravana Purnima or Pavitropana falls on Monday, then it is considered the most auspicious day of the year.
Also, in the month of full moon day, many other festivals are celebrated as Raksha Bandhan. These festivals are celebrated in many other parts of India and are known by different names. Some of them are listed below:
In Haryana and Punjab, in addition to celebrating Raksha Bandhan, people observe the festival of Saluno. Saluno is celebrated by priests solemnly tying amulets on people's wrists for protection against evil. The day is dedicated to local saints involving devotees receiving such amulets. In Haryana, the festival of Saluno also involves sisters tying threads on brothers to ward off evil. Despite the two festivals being similar in its practices, Saluno and Raksha Bandhan are distinct observances with the threads tied for Saluno being called ponchis
Shravani Mela is a major festival time at Deoghar in Jharkhand with thousands of saffron-clad pilgrims bringing holy water around 100 km on foot from the Ganges at Sultanganj, Bihar. Shravana is also the time of the annual Kanwar Yatra, the annual pilgrimage of devotees of Shiva, known as Kanwaria make to Hindu pilgrimage places of Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand to fetch holy waters of Ganges River
Hindu saint Sri Guru Raghavendra Swami, who advocated Sri Madhvacharya's Dvaita philosophy, achieved Videha Mukti on Sraavana Bahula Dwitiya in 1671 AD.
And also in Folk Culture, many renders named some festivals like Saluno, Silono and Rakari as they are celebrated as Rakshabandhan and falls in the month of full moon i.e., Shravana.