Celebrations of Raksha Bandhan in Lahore, Pakistan. By Farhan Wilayat Butt

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(A small step taken on behalf of Pakistan Peacekeeping Mission for Peace & Unity among Muslims and Hindus)
The Hindu community of Lahore city observed the festival of Rakhsha Bandhan. The celebration was arranged at the Hindu Balmiki Mandir (Nila Gumbad, Lahore). Various members of Hindu community from all over the city participated in the festivities with immense religious fervor, enthusiasm and zeal. Most of the celebrations took place in the houses of the city’s Hindus. The colourful festival symbolises trust between sisters and brothers and reaffirms the bond between siblings. While the sisters pray for the lifelong well-being of their brothers, the latter vow to help and protect the former.
The Meaning of Raksha Bandhan:
Relationships are the essence of any festivity. Each occasion brings the family together which calls for a celebration. Raksha Bandhan is a celebration of one such relation - that of a brother and a sister. Raksha Bandhan is a festival which celebrates the bond of affection between brothers and sisters. It is a day when siblings pray for each other’s' well-being and wish for each other’s' happiness and goodwill.
The name 'Raksha Bandhan' suggests 'a bond of protection'. On this auspicious day, brothers make a promise to their sisters to protect them from all harms and troubles and the sisters pray to God to protect their brother from all evil. The festival falls on the Shravan Purnima which comes generally in the month of August. Sisters tie the silk thread called Rakhi on their brother's wrist and pray for their well-being and brothers promise to take care of their sisters.
The Significance:
Raksha Bandhan is now considered as a day to celebrate the sacred relation of a brother and a sister. Yet there have been examples in history where in rakhi has just been a raksha or protection. It could be tied by wife, a daughter or mother. The Rishis tied rakhi to the people who came seeking their blessings. The sages tied the sacred thread to themselves to safe guard them from the evil. It is by all means the 'Papa Todak, Punya Pradayak Parva' or the day that bestows boons and end all sins as it is mentioned in the scriptures.
Previously, Rakhi festival encompasses the warmth shared between the siblings but now it goes way beyond it. Some people tie Rakhi to neighbours and close friends signifying a peaceful co-existence of every individual.

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