Though celebration styles and outlook of festivals tend to change with time, their rituals, traditions and customs remain the same over centuries. Only the mood becomes contemporary. Keeping with traditions, the festival of Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in the same enthusiastic traditional way. In fact, with the advent of modern information technology, Rakhi has become more popular among the Indians living abroad. The festival of Raksha Bandhan is marked by joy, happiness and excitement all over India. The festive mood is more intense in the younger lot.
The preparations for this pious festival begin well in advance. The market places wear a festive look with different varieties of colorful Rakhis on display in shops. Girls start the shopping and preparations quite early for Rakhi. They shop for new clothes and buy Rakhis, especially the ones that have to be sent to the brothers staying away. The sweet shops, the garment shops, gift shops, all are swamped with things to draw people. Rakhis are available in different sizes, colors and shapes from the characteristic round ones to heart shaped, symbolizing the bond of love between brothers and sisters.
With the day break people start getting ready and gather for the worship ritual. A Rakhi Thali (plate) is prepared on which they put the Rakhi, a diya (earthen lamp), water, roli (red threads), rice, vermilion or turmeric powder and some sweets. Thereafter the Aarti ceremony takes place and the sister puts tika and chaval on the brother's forehead and ties Rakhi. This is accompanied by chanting of mantras. Then, the sister gives him sweets, which is thought to bring good luck to the brother. The brother vows to take care of his sister and be by her side in the time of need. As a part of tradition he gives the sister return gifts and sweets.
Traditions and customs of Rakhi are as old as the festival itself. Raksha Bandhan festival and its celebrations contain a large number of rituals and customs.