Raksha Bandan

In short...

Themes: Hinduism; celebrating world religions; celebrating our brothers and sisters; Raksha Bandan and making promises.

Summary: The annual festival of Raksha Bandan celebrates the love between brothers and sisters. The word ‘raksha’ means ‘protection' and ‘bandan’ means ‘tie.’ Traditionally ‘Rakhis’ were made of thin cotton but today they can be very elaborate and colourful.

Resources: the display image Raksha Bandan (see Key links).

The video

Two children - Vraj and Simran - explain the festival and how they celebrate it. Simran goes shopping to buy a 'rakhi' for Vraj and he dresses up for the celebration.

An ancient story from Hindu scripture is remembered during the festival. When Vishnu goes to live with King Bali his wife, Lakshmi, is so sad that she visits King Bali and ties rakhi to him. When the king asks what she wants in return Lakshmi asks for her husband back.

During this festival, sisters tie rakhi on their brothers’ arms and brothers promise protection and give gifts to their sisters.

Duration: 3' 45"

End of speech: '...He'd hopefully be there, at the right time.'

Video questions

  • What is a 'rakhi'? (Traditionally it was a strip of colourful cotton to be tied around the wrist...but, as the video makes clear, rakhis have developed over time...)
  • What is the difference between rakhis in the past and today? (They used to be made from cotton but today they can be far more intricate and elaborate.)
  • Who does the god Vishnu go to live with? (King Bali.)
  • What does Simran pray for when she ties the rakhi on Vraj? (A happy and healthy life in the year ahead.)
  • Why does Vraj touch Simran’s feet? (He is younger than her and touches her feet to show respect.)
  • If you do not have a brother who can you give a rakhi to? (Your cousin or friends.)

Key links

Assembly framework (pdf)
Image - Raksha Bandan

Suggested framework

1. Entry music As the pupils enter you could play a song about siblings to sow seeds in the children's minds - eg 'We are family’ (Sister Sledge) or 'He ain't heavy, he's my brother' (The Hollies). Display the image (see 'Key links') and define the words on it either before or after the video (‘Raksha Bandan,’ ‘Vishnu,’ ‘Lakshmi’ and ‘rakhi’).

2. Introduction Begin by asking the children about their brothers and sisters and gathering the answers. For example: 1. Who here has a brother or a sister - perhaps one who is with us today? 2. When might we celebrate having a brother or sister...and how? (Birthdays; Christmas; by giving presents; other occasions...) 3. Is it always easy having a brother or sister - are there ever squabbles? Go on to explain that the children are going to watch a short video about a Hindu festival that celebrates brothers and sisters (and refer to the words / names on the image if you wish to).

3. The video Play the video. The duration is 3' 45" and the final words are: '...He'd hopefully be there, at the right time.' You can opt to share the 'Video questions' before watching the video if you wish.

4. After the video Share the 'Video questions' to consolidate recall of the information. 1. What is a rakhi? 2. How have rakhis changed over time? 3. Who does the god Vishnu go to live with? 4. What does Simran pray for as she ties the rakhi? 5. Why does Vraj touch Simran's feet? 6. Who can you give a rakhi to if you do not have a brother / sister?

5. Time to talk Ask children to tell the person next to them who they would want to tie a rakhi on / give a present to? If you could choose anybody in the world to give rakhi to / receive rakhi from, who would it be and why? Do we ever make promises that we cannot keep? Do we choose who we are 'there for'? Is this always planned or can we be there for somebody spontaneously?

6. Opportunity to sing An opportunity to sing your chosen song. Suggestions from BBC collections below.

7. Opportunity to reflect ‘I’ll be there for you’ could be the focus of the reflection in this assembly. 'Sometimes we say to others - or they say to us - 'I'll be there for you'...meaning 'I'll support you'...or 'I'll look after you.' Who is always there for you..? How do you know that somebody is there for you..? How do people behave if they are there for you..? What do they do to show you..? How do they speak to you, what do they say..? Would anybody say that you are always there for them..? Is there someone who needs you to be there for them today..?'

8. Opportunity for prayer Use your standard form of address (Dear God, etc) and: ‘Thank you for our brother and sisters and families. Thank you that you are always there for me. Help me to remember that at my toughest times, you are actually nearest to me...walking by my side. Amen.’

Suggested songs

All together as a family - Vocal

All together as a family (backing track)

Build up - Vocal

Build up - Backing