Any Indian festival is incomplete without the typical Indian festivities, the gatherings, celebrations, exchange of sweets and gifts, lots of noise, singing and dancing. Festivals are the celebration of togetherness the celebrations of being on of the family. Festival of Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is one such major occasion.

It is the celebration of brothers and sisters. It is one festival that primarily belongs to the North and Western regions of India but celebrated throughout the country with the same verve. Regional celebrations may be different but Raksha Bandhan has become an integral part of those customs.

As per the traditions, the sister on this day prepares the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal and rakhis. She worships the deities, ties Rakhi to the brother(s) and wishes for their well being. The brother in turn acknowledges the love with a promise to be by the sisters' side through the thick and thin and gives her a token gift.

The festival has been celebrated in the same way with the same traditions for centuries. Only the means have changed with the changing lifestyles. This too to make the celebrations more elaborate.

This is the day that still pulls the siblings together. The increasing physical distances evoke the desire to be together even more. They try to reach out to each other on the Raksha Bandhan day. The joyous meeting, the rare family get-together, that erstwhile feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood calls for a massive celebration.

The sisters tie that thread of love to their brothers amongst chanting of mantras, put roli and rice on his forehead and pray for his well being. She bestows him with gifts and blessings. The brother also wishes her a good life and pledges to take care of her. He gives her a return gift. The gift is the physical acceptance of her love, reminder of their togetherness and a symbol of his pledge. The legends and the reference in history repeated, the significance of the festival is emphasized.

Well that is kind of an end to the rituals but the celebrations actually start after that. For the parents, it is a family reunion. Tasty dishes, wonderful sweets, exchange of gifts and sharing of past experiences.

For those who are not able to visit each other, rakhi cards and e rakhis and rakhis through mails perform the part of communicating the rakhi messages. Hand made rakhis and self-made rakhi cards are just a representation of the personal feelings of the siblings.

Crux is that Raksha Bandhan brings people together in true spirit of all Indian festivals.