A unique festival that celebrates siblings’ pure and strong bond, Raksha Bandhan is a much-celebrated event in India. India has diverse cultures, beliefs, and traditions, and in every religion, they have a different name for the same festival. Don’t panic for those who identify this festival name because this festival is also known in other names as Rakhi, Rakhi Purnima, Rakhi, Janai Purnima, Salerno, and Gamha Purnima, Ujjwal Silano. Raksha Bandhan comprises two words; Raksha, which indicates “Safety,” and Bandhan, which represents “Bond.” Raksha Bandhan is derived initially from the Sanskrit language, expressing” the relation of siblings which is a bond of safety, protection or care.” The core of the festival is the ritual in which the sister ties a thread or bracelet on her brother’s wrist. In return, the brother commits his sister, a “Promise” to protect his sister from all harm.
This festival originated centuries ago. There is much historical evidence proving that this festival exists in Indian antiquity. Let’s go through the story that I always heard from my grandparents about the origin of this festival.
The story of Lord Krishna and Draupadi
To protect the truth and dharma on the earth, Lord Krishna killed the evil and cruel king Shisupal. During the war, Lord Krishna was injured, and his finger was bleeding. When Draupadi saw this, she had torn a strip of her saree and tied it around the injured finger of Lord Krishna to stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna admired her devotion and concern. Lord Krishna felt bound by Draupadi’s sisterly love and empathy.
Further, Lord Krishna took a pledge and committed to repay the debt of gratitude when Draupadi needs him in the future. A long time later, Pandavas lost her wife Draupadi in a gambling game to the crooked Kauravas. In a hall full of audience and the thrill of the game, Kauravas attempted to peel away Draupadi’s clothes, Lord Krishna, at this point, with his divine powers, protected Draupadi,s dignity. Although they were not related by blood, Lord Krishna and Draupadi shared a strong bond of siblings’ love.
Raksha Bandhan in Canada
Please see my first Raksha Bandhan experience in Vancouver, Canada below.
Canada is famous for its diverse culture and communities. About ten million of the Indian population reside in various parts of Canada. Although living far from traditions and the Indian mainland, people celebrate Rakha Bandhan with passion and devotion. You will find the same fanaticism in the local stores during the season. Religious places dress up with ornamental arrangements and the glow of light.
Famous temples and Markets where you can celebrate Raksha Bandhan
In every city of Canada, you will find the religious temple of Lord Krishna, which will keep you connected with your cultural beliefs and traditions. People visit temples on the eve of Raksha Bandhan to celebrate this festival. Here are some of the famous temple spots in the different cities:
In Vancouver, you can visit Hare Krishna’s Temple
Burnaby: 5462 Marine Dr, Burnaby
Surrey Lakshmi Narayan Mandir: 8321 140 St, Surrey
Toronto: 243 Avenue Rd, Toronto
Saskatoon: 107 La Ronge Rd, Saskatoon
Calgary: 313 4 St NE, Calgary
If you are an international student in Canada, you will find Indian supermarkets or shops from where you can purchase colourful Rakhis and sweets. Shopping in this market and surprising your siblings can be another great idea to celebrate the festival with the family. In Vancouver, Surrey is the point of attraction when you have to purchase Indian goods. Likewise, in Ontario, Brampton and Toronto have famous Indian markets, which will give you a feeling of India during festival times. If you are in Canada, celebrate this festival of love, care, and bond with your siblings as it makes you feel closer to the culture and values of Indian traditions.