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Rashmi Rekha Das

Ever since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have changed their way of celebrating festivals. Be it Raksha Bandhan or Independence Day, people over last two years had opted for virtual celebrations to mark the festivities because of social distancing, lockdown regulations, and travel constraints. 

After a gap of two years, people celebrated Raksha Bandhan with religious fervour and much fanfare today. Starting from Lord Jagannath to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, everyone soaked in the rakhi purnima celebrations. 

Raksha Bandhan, which honours the deep bond of love between siblings, is being celebrated all over the country today. On this auspicious day, sisters tie a thread around their brothers’ wrist and offer prayers for her brother prosperous life. 

In a noble gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Raksha Bandhan with young girls at his residence in Delhi on Thursday. It is pertinent to note that the girls who tied rakhis to PM Modi were the daughters of sweepers, peons, gardeners, drivers, and other employees working at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Back home, educational institutions across Odisha celebrated the festival with pomp and gaiety. Schoolchildren tied rakhis to classmates.

In many places cultural extravaganzas were organised to add zing to the festival.  
Meanwhile, presiding deities of Puri Jagannath temple are all set to tie rakhis tomorrow. Patakara servitors have prepared four rakhis. Special ritual will be performed on Friday to mark the festival.

Sarat Mohanty, senior servitor of said, “Though the country celebrated the festival today, the same is celebrated in Puri Srimandir tomorrow. Balabhadra’s birthday is celebrated as Raksha Bandhan.  Goddess Subhadra will tie rakhi to Lord Jagannath and Lord Balabhadra tomorrow in Puri.  Mahaprabhu gets his hand tied rakhi on the day decided by Mukti Mandap.  Gold laden Pata rakhis and guaramalas will be tied to Lord Jagannath and Balabhadra tomorrow.”

Going by the tradition, the servitors prepare guamala in yellow and red colour combination for Lord Jagannath and purple and blue colour combination for Lord Balabhadra every year.

Meanwhile, jatra artiste Rani Panda tied rakhi to senior congress leader Sura Routray. Being a sister, he prayed for her brother Sura’s wellbeing. 

Sura said, “Today is an auspicious day. Legend has it that on the Raksha Bandhan day, Goddess Parvati tied rakhi on Lord Narayan’s hand.  She has tied rakhi on my hand. I will pray to Lord Jagannath, Allah and Jesus for the wellbeing of my sister.”

Rani said, “Today is Raksha Bandhan. Every sister ties rakhi on her brother’s hand not for the sake of gifts. I tied rakhi to Sura bhai to get his blessing.”

On the other hand, toddlers tied rakhi on the hand of Senior Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati at the latter’s residence.

Tara said, “I am everyone’s Bhalu Bhaina. I will remain everyone’s Bhalu Bhaina not for today but forever.”

Similary, former Balasore MP Pratap Sarangi celebrated the festival with orphans. He danced, sang to mark the occasion.

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