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Jhulan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan: Swinging Ceremonies and Festivities in West Bengal

Last updated :
July 3, 2024

minutes read

In West Bengal, Jhulan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan are celebrated with a blend of traditional rituals, community involvement, and joyous family gatherings. These festivals, which honour the bond between siblings and the divine love of Radha and Krishna, are observed with great enthusiasm and local customs that reflect the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Sister tying rakhi on brother’s wrist, traditional decorations, a thali with sweets, and a diya
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Historical Background

Raksha Bandhan, celebrated across India, holds a special place in the hearts of the people of West Bengal. Traditionally observed on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan, it symbolises the protective bond between siblings. In West Bengal, this festival is uniquely combined with Jhulan Purnima, a celebration that honours the playful and divine love of Radha and Krishna, with idols of the deities placed on swings and decorated elaborately with flowers and lights.

Raksha Bandhan: Celebrating Sibling Bonds

Sister performing aarti and prayers for her brother's well-being during Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan in West Bengal focuses on the bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters tie a rakhi (sacred thread) on their brothers' wrists, praying for their well-being, while brothers vow to protect their sisters.

  • Rakhi Tying Ceremony: Sisters prepare a thali with rakhis, sweets, and a diya (lamp). They perform aarti, apply tilak on their brothers' foreheads, and tie the rakhi, praying for their well-being. Brothers, in turn, promise to protect their sisters and give them gifts as tokens of their love.
  • Aarti and Prayers: Sisters perform aarti and pray for their brothers' well-being.
  • Gift Exchange: Brothers give gifts to their sisters, reaffirming their bond of protection and love.

Rituals and Practices

  • Jhulan Yatra: The highlight of Jhulan Purnima is the Jhulan Yatra, where idols of Radha and Krishna are placed on beautifully decorated swings in temples and homes. Devotees take turns swinging the idols while singing devotional songs and offering prayers.
  • Community Gatherings: Various organisations and schools organise rakhi tying ceremonies and cultural programs to foster a sense of unity and brotherhood among the people. These events include traditional music and dance performances, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of West Bengal.
  • Festive Decorations: Markets and homes are adorned with colourful decorations. Shops display an array of intricately designed rakhis, from traditional to modern styles, attracting people of all ages to partake in the festivities.

Unique Traditions in West Bengal

West Bengal’s celebration of Jhulan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan includes unique practices that reflect the region’s cultural ethos. The festival often extends beyond the familial bond to include friends and community members, fostering a sense of collective protection and support.

The festival is also marked by vibrant cultural performances, including traditional dances and music, which add to the festive atmosphere. These performances are often organised by local cultural groups and are an integral part of the celebrations.

Modern-Day Celebrations

With changing times, Jhulan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan in West Bengal have adapted to modern lifestyles. Many families now use digital means to send e-rakhis and virtual gifts, especially when siblings are separated by distance. Social media and video calls have made it easier for families to stay connected and celebrate together, even when they are miles apart. Despite these modern adaptations, the core essence of the festivals—love, protection, and unity—remains unchanged.

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Food and Delicacies

Traditional Bengali foods like sandesh, rasgulla, and misti doi on a festive table setup for Raksha Bandhan

Festive celebrations in West Bengal are incomplete without indulging in traditional delicacies. Some popular dishes prepared during Jhulan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan include:

  • Sandesh: A sweet made from fresh paneer, often flavoured with cardamom and garnished with nuts.
  • Rasgulla: Soft, spongy balls made from chhena (Indian cottage cheese) soaked in sugar syrup.
  • Misti Doi: Sweetened yogurt, a traditional Bengali dessert often served during festivals.

Community and Social Impact

Jhulan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan in West Bengal also emphasise social responsibility and environmental consciousness. Many families use eco-friendly decorations and biodegradable materials for the celebrations. Community initiatives, such as tree planting drives and clean-up campaigns, are organised, reflecting the values of sustainability and social responsibility embedded in these festivals.


Jhulan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan in West Bengal are beautiful blends of cultural festivities, community unity, and traditional feasts, celebrating the bond between siblings while highlighting the region’s unique traditions. The festivals not only strengthen familial ties but also foster a sense of community and environmental stewardship. By blending tradition with modernity, these festivals continue to evolve while preserving their core values of love, protection, and unity.


How are Jhulan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan celebrated in West Bengal?

Jhulan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan in West Bengal involve traditional rituals of rakhi tying, Jhulan Yatra, aarti, and gift exchanges. The festivals extend to community involvement, with cultural performances and local events.

What are some traditional foods prepared during Jhulan Purnima and Raksha Bandhan in West Bengal?

Traditional foods include Sandesh, Rasgulla, and Misti Doi. These dishes are enjoyed during festive celebrations and reflect West Bengal’s rich culinary heritage.

What is unique about Jhulan Purnima celebrations in West Bengal?

The unique aspect of Jhulan Purnima in West Bengal is the Jhulan Yatra, where idols of Radha and Krishna are placed on decorated swings, fostering a sense of collective devotion and celebration. The festival is also marked by vibrant cultural performances, adding to the festive atmosphere.

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