A Bond That Ties
|Camera:||Canon EOS 550D|
The one thing that I find most interesting across cultures is how we celebrate relationships. Back home in India, every celebration is linked to the solar or lunar calendar and usually follows traditional rituals and norms on how to observe them. And the holy month of Shravan brings with it the start of the Hindu festive season, starting with Raksha Bandhan for Hindus, and Nariyali Purnima for the fisher folks and Avaniavatam for us Tamilian Bhramins.
Raksha Bandhan finds its oldest mention (to my knolwedge) in the epic Mahabharata. During the, rājasūya yagna ceremony that Yudhishthira carries out at Indraprasta to be crowned as the Emperor of the World, he honors Lord Krishna to be the greatest personalities of them all. Irate that a cowherd like Krishna be bestowed with such a title, King Sisupala hurls several abuses at a calm and peace loving Krishna. When a deadly war breaks out, Krishna uses the sudarshana chakra to behead him. Seeing him bleeding, Draupadi tears off her expensive silk saree to bandage his injured and bleeding hand. Touched by her gesture, he promises that he will withhold her honor when she needs it most, and helps her as she is being disrobed by the Kaurav King Dhuroydhana in his court. Every sister who ties a rakhi onto her brother’s wrists seeks his protection body, mind and soul. However she also offers her devotion and queering love and respect to this selfless act by her brother. Brothers in turn, acknowledge their vow by presenting gifts to their sisters in return.
Narali Purnima sees an offing of coconut to Lord Varuna, the God of the Sea, on a full moon day that marks the beginning of the fishing season. Fishermen, pray to Lord Varuna for bountiful fish produce and safe voyages and protection from the sea
Avaniavatam is the day of the year when Brahmin men discard the old sacred thread the wear on their bodies with fresh ones. The day marks the beginning of good times that is followed by weddings, and festivities, ending the month of Adi, where we mourn the death of those we loved and lost.