Raksha Bandhan

Is Raksha Bandhan celebrated among Sikhs?

Is Raksha Bandhan celebrated among Sikhs
Written by Pratiksha Priya

India is one of the most famous countries worldwide, known for its rich heritage and diverse culture. Many festivals are celebrated in India, each region having its own unique customs and rituals. Raksha Bandhan is one such festival celebrated with the utmost splendor across the country. The festival is known in various parts of the country, such as Kajari Purnima, Rakhi Purnima, etc.

Punjab is a popular state in India, known for its language, culture, and people. One of the famous religions followed in the state is Sikhism, and today we will discuss if the Sikhs celebrate Raksha Bandhan.

Raksha Bandhan in Punjab

People in Punjab celebrate many festivals, such as Lohri, Baisakhi, Teeyan, etc. They also celebrate Raksha Bandhan, known by many names such as Raksha Purnima, Rakhri, Rakhardi, or Rakhrhya.

Sikhs in Punjab celebrate various festivals, but they consider Raksha Bandhan a Hindu festival that doesn’t align with the Sikh faith. But Rakshabandhan is indeed celebrated by many Sikhs. A Sikhism scholar, Eleanor Nesbitt, mentioned in her book, Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction”, that many contemporary Sikhs also observe the festival as ‘the annual bonding of brothers and sisters on the day of Rakhi (Raksha Bandhan).’

Raksha Bandhan cultural significance for Sikhs 

Punjab is one of the famous states in India, known for its unique culture, language, songs, and the Punjabi film industry. People in Punjab also celebrate Raksha Bandhan in the Hindu month of Shravana, on the full moon day.  

Every year, a fair called Rakhar Punya is held in the Baba Bakala district of Amritsar. It’s believed that this is where Makhan Shah Lubana, a famous trader, declared that he found the Guru.

Makhan Shah Lubana wanted to find the true Guru as he promised to donate 500 dinars for saving his life from a storm. And, when he found the true Guru, he declared from his rooftop, ‘Guru Ladho Rae,’ meaning the true Guru has been found. And since then, the Baba Bakala has become a pilgrimage site for the Sikhs and the location for the annual Rakha Punya fair.

Raksha Bandhan historical significance for Sikhs 

The word ‘Rakhi’ was first introduced in the Punjabi language by the Sikh Khalsa Army. During that time, farmers wanted to protect their lands from the army of Afghans and Persians. The Sikh Khalsa Army promised protection of the lands in exchange for a small share of their produce.

A bond was developed between the people for protecting each other, which eventually turned into the bond of brothers and sisters that today is celebrated as Raksha Bandhan.

The founder of the Sikh empire, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and his wife, Maharani Jindan Kaur, knew the importance of rakhi and also celebrated Raksha Bandhan. Maharani Jindan Kaur sent a rakhi to the King of Nepal, who accepted the Maharani as his sister. Like a brother, the King of Nepal helped Maharani Jindan Kaur by giving her refuge in the Hindu Kingdom of Nepal after the Sikh empire completely collapsed.

How do Sikhs celebrate Raksha Bandhan? 

The Sikhs celebrate Raksha Bandhan in the same way as people celebrate this occasion across India. The households across are decorated, and siblings wear new clothes. The sister prepares a puja thali with tika, chawal, sweets, diya, and a rakhi. She then applies the roli chawal on her brother’s forehead, ties the rakhi thread around his wrist, and does his aarti. While doing so, she also prays for his brother’s well-being. Some sisters whose brothers are married also tie rakhi to their sisters-in-law.

On the other hand, the brother promises to protect his sister his entire life and gives her a gift. After the rakhi tying ritual ends, the entire family spends the day together, having delicious snacks, playing songs, etc.

Families on this occasion have mouth-watering snacks and dishes such as masala channa, dal makhani, paneer tikka, punj ratani dal, kadhi pakoda, Amristsari kulcha, paneer paratha, chole bhature, lassi, etc. For deserts, they have peeley chawal, gajar ka halwa, meethe chaawal, Punjabi poora, etc.

How do Sikh NRIs celebrate Raksha Bandhan?

The Sikhs who live in other countries also celebrate Raksha Bandhan. They celebrate the festival with the same enthusiasm as in India. Those who can’t visit their family celebrate the occasion by sending rakhi gifts to their siblings. The sisters send rakhi to USA, Canada, Australia, etc., from India or wherever their brother is, who in return send return rakhi gifts to sisters through an online rakhi store.

Raksha Bandhan is a special festival in India that brings people of different cultures together to celebrate the brother-sister bond. Many Sikhs also celebrate this unique festival with the utmost joy and enthusiasm.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Do Sikhs celebrate Raksha Bandhan? 

Yes, many Sikhs celebrate Raksha Bandhan. They observe this festival as the annual bonding of the brothers and sisters.  

2. When is Raksha Bandhan 2023? 

Raksha Bandhan is celebrated annually on the full moon day in the Shravan month of the Hindu calendar. Raksha Bandhan 2023 will be celebrated on 30th August, Wednesday.

3. Which are the best rakhis for brothers in Punjab? 

Ek Onkar rakhi, Rudraksha rakhi, AD rakhi, evil eye rakhi, silver rakhi, bracelet rakhi, etc., are some of the best rakhis that sisters can send to their brothers in Punjab.

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Pratiksha Priya

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