New Zealand celebrates Raksha Bandhan 2010

New Zealand will celebrate Raksha Bandhan 2010 on 29th August. Over a thousand New Zealanders will gather at Mahatma Gandhi Centre Auckland, New Zealand. Raksha Bandhan 2010 will be organized by the Hindu Organizations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum. It is to note that India will celebrate Rakshan Bandhan on August 24th.

Excerpts of press release by Hindu Council of New Zealand:
Over a thousand New Zealanders (mainly from Auckland) are expected to swarm the Mahatma Gandhi Centre to celebrate the Hindu Festival of Raksha Bandhan on the afternoon of Sunday, 29th August 2010.

Hon. Phil Goff (Leader of Opposition), His Worship Andrew Williams (Mayor of North Shore), His Worship Len Brown (Mayor of Manukau), Joris De Bres (Race Relations Commissioner), Members of Parliament and many more dignitaries are also participating in this festival.

This festival is organised by the Hindu Organisations, Temples and Associations (HOTA) Forum. The HOTA Forum was launched at the 3rd New Zealand National Hindu conference.

The Raksha Bandhan festival celebrates the infallible bond of universal fellowship and is an occasion to venerate womanhood. Hindus and other Dharma-based communities realised since time immemorial that the true strength of social structures are the connections and bonds between its members that affirm true fellowship between them. They also recognised the indisputable role women play in nurturing and enhancing the universal bond of fellowship.

Classical and folk dances from various cultures will be performed at the event. Maori Kapa-haka, South Indian traditional dances, Japanese drum beats, Chinese lion and dragon dance, North Indian classical and cultural dance items and live music forms the 3-hour enriching cultural entertainment session.

“It will be a spectacular sight of performances by artists of such calibre, from various different communities displaying traditional, cultural and folk dances from their respective cultures”, said Mr S Subbiah, joint programme coordinator.

The festival will be celebrated in a smoke-free and alcohol-free atmosphere making it safe and fun for families to participate. Vegetarian food will be sold.

“Response from central and local government dignitaries has been very pleasing so far and a number of reservations have been made until now. This is a first of its kind events for Auckland and is free to public” said the programme coordinator, Mamta Bhikha.

“I encourage families and all interested people to make their reservations as soon as possible as we may run out of seats on the day of event”, Ms Bhikha added.

HOTA Forum will organise this festival annually to bring the Forum members closer, develop understanding and promote collaborative project based work among them on social issues in a better way. Hindu Council of New Zealand is the first year host of the HOTA Forum.

Each one of the members in HOTA Forum will get an opportunity to host the programme on a rotation basis annually. New Zealand Hindu Temple Society will be the host of the HOTA forum in 2011. It is going to be a landmark cultural event for New Zealand society.

Symbolism of Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi):
On the day of Raksha Bandhan we solemnise the concepts of universal fellowship and veneration of womanhood by the symbolic act of tying a sacred thread called rakhi on the wrist of others. In families, sisters adorn the wrist of brothers with rakhis. At societal level, similar ceremonies are witnessed between community members. A family is not just its individuals but also the bonds between them and the feminine nurturing force that energises the family.

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