Have you ever heard of traditions from other cultures and wanted to celebrate? I love other cultures and seeing the different holidays celebrated around the world. Raksha Badhan is one of these holidays. I wonder if it’s a holiday Christians should participate in?
Should Christians celebrate Raksha Bandhan? Christians should not celebrate Raksha Badhan due to its Hindu roots. The festival is centered around Hindu gods and the exchanging of talismans. These are things we are called to avoid in Exodus 20:2-6, 1 Corinthians 10:14, and Ephesians 5:11.
We must ensure that we study the background of holidays from other cultures before celebrating them. We need to be on guard and protect our souls from things that are against our God. To understand more about Raksha Badhan before going to the festival read this article.
What Is Raksha Bandhan?
Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is a tradition and festival held in North India. Every year the festival is held in July /August. It is a way for families to celebrate the love between a brother and a sister.
In the middle of summer families, friends, and the entire community in North India gather to celebrate. Days before the women gather to go through the local markets and buy the perfect Rakhi.
A Rakhi is a special talisman/bracelet created specifically for this festival. The bracelets come in many colors, have special charms, and braids on them.
The entire festival lasts 24 hours with 11 hours dedicated to the tying of the bracelet. The girl or “sister” chooses a man or “brother” to give the bracelet to.
The giving of the bracelet symbolizes the love between a brother and sister. The sister prays for blessings, prosperity, health, and the well-being of her brother to Hindu gods as she puts on the bracelet.
The brother then vows to protect his sister and presents her with a gift. Though this tradition is to be between a man and a woman, it has expanded in recent years.
Now Rakhis are exchanged between priests and their congregation, they’re gifted to soldiers, and even given to the prime minister.
Raksha Bandhan is all about celebrating the relationship between a brother and a sister. Which is held of utmost importance in this culture.
The relationship between a brother and sister is explained as the following:
A sibling may be the keeper of one’s identity, the only person with the keys to one’s unfettered, more fundamental self.Marian Sandmaier
One’s identity is in their sibling in this culture. They believe that siblings are the equivalent of a best friend. They know the real authentic you that is hidden from others. They know your flaws, weaknesses, and biggest mistakes. Yet they still love you.
The History Of Raksha Bandhan?
Raksha Bandhan originates from Hindu roots. Raksha is a Hindi word that translates protection. Badhand means a tie.
Raksha Bandhan comes from ancient Hindu mythology stories. There are four different ones. The first is about Indra Dev and his wife Sachi.
Indra is a deity in Hindu beliefs and was battling the demon king. The battle was continued for many years without ceasing and Indra was losing.
His wife received a bracelet from her friend and put it on her husband. It was an amulet that had been covered in prayer and gave Indra power to win the war.
The second myth is about King Bali and the goddess Lakshmi. Lakshmi’s husband had been forced to live with demon King Bali. Lakshmi missed her husband, so she came up with a plan.
She gave a bracelet to Bali to make him her brother. Because of this, he owed her a gift. She requested that her gift would be for her husband to return home and part of the demon king.
The third one is about Lord Ganesha’s two sons. They desired to have a sister. Their father wanted to grant a request, so he created them a sister through fire on Raksha Badhan.
The final tale is about a brother and sister who had parted. Yama was a god, but his sister Yamuna was mortal. Yama visited his sister who was filled with gratitude to see her brother.
She longed for a relationship with her brother, and her request was for him to visit her more. He granted her request by making her immortal.
The Rakhi is usually a talisman/ amulet which means that it is used to grant the person wearing it power from the gods. Or it’s used to scare off evil spirits and bring luck.
Though this festival is usually practiced by Hindus it is also used in two other religions, Jainism and Sikhism. It’s also tradition for a mantra to be chanted as the bracelet is tied.
Should Christians Celebrate Raksha Bandhan?
There are two main views surrounding whether Christians should celebrate Raksha Bandhan or not. Some believe it to be an innocent tradition we can attend. While others believe it to be something we should not allow into our lives.
Christians Can Celebrate Raksha Bandhan
Some Christians believe that it is okay to celebrate this holiday/ attend the festival. Because it’s a part of a different culture, there’s a desire to see and understand others’ world views.
Going to this festival can open Christian eyes to Hinduism and the culture of North India. It allows one to see others’ beliefs, and begin to understand them.
Participating in it can also be a way for Christians to connect with this people group. As well as not be closed off to another religion.
It’s all about celebrating family which is something Christians value as well. This is something that allows us to love our siblings even further.
It helps us to also create deep bonds with someone who doesn’t share our same beliefs. Celebrating this will bring a deeper understanding and allow us to love others.
Christians Should Not Celebrate Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan should not be celebrated by Christians for three main reasons.
The first reason is that the whole festival is centered around talisman and amulets. The Rakhis. Amulets and talismans are believed to hold supernatural powers. Whether we believe they do or not. We should still not use them because it is still supporting their use.
The Bible addresses those who make amulets/ talismans, as well as those who wear them in the book of Ezekiel.
and say, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the women who sew magic bands upon all wrists, and make veils for the heads of persons of every stature, in the hunt for souls!
Will you hunt down souls belonging to my people and keep your own souls alive? You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, putting to death souls who should not die and keeping alive souls who should not live, by your lying to my people, who listen to lies.
“Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, I am against your magic bands with which you hunt the souls like birds, and I will tear them from your arms, and I will let the souls whom you hunt go free, the souls like birds.
Your veils also I will tear off and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand as prey, and you shall know that I am the Lord.Ezekiel 13:18-21
God felt great sorrow for the women who were making amulets and giving veils that were to worship gods and summon other powers. These women were stealing souls by misleading them to false power.
They were consumed by dark magic and manipulating others so that they could make a profit. These amulets were against the Lord.
They were bringing darkness to His children’s souls. The amulets would cause those who wore them to fall from God.
However, God promised to free His children from the darkness. He did not give up hope they had been led astray. He set them free and said that He would make Himself known to the women who made these amulets.
Another reason is found in Exodus:
You shall have no other gods before me.Exodus 20: 3
and in the book of Ephesians
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose themEphesians 5:11
We are not to support any other gods because ours is the one true God. Raksha Badhan is rooted deeply in stories about Hindu gods.
They are what created the holiday. Though the main idea of this holiday is to celebrate the relationship between siblings. It’s also a form of worshipping their gods. The stories of the gods are told and they are even included in the mantra.
If you celebrate this holiday you are worshipping false gods.
This is a fruitless deed of darkness. Because any god that is not ours is surrounded by darkness. Instead of celebrating this holiday, it is our duty as Christians to share what it is really about.
We are to also share about our God and His goodness. We don’t need a holiday to celebrate our brothers and sisters because are already united with fellow believers through Christ.
It’s easy to get excited about other cultures and want to participate in their holidays, but we must be on guard. We must educate ourselves on what we’re celebrating before we celebrate it.
Pray and seek the Lord before you celebrate this holiday. He will make your path straight and keep you from dark things. Listen to His voice and be obedient.
Don’t allow the enemy to lie to you and say it’s no big deal to celebrate Raksha Badhan.
Pray for those who celebrate this Holiday that is rooted in celebrating false gods. Pray that those who celebrate Raksha Badhan find Christ and flee from the darkness they are currently in. This is the only way we should participate in this holiday, by interceding on the participant’s behalf.