Firefighters from the Edison Fire Department joined volunteers of the Edison, N.J., chapter of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh to celebrate the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan at Nrithya Madhavi Dance Studio in South Plainfield, N.J., Sept. 6, a press release reported.
The firefighters from the Edison Fire Department were represented by Tim Eosso, acting captain, and Doug McMahon, who were the chief guests of the event.
The program started off with a ceremonial flag hoisting of the sacred Hindu flag, Bhagwa Dhwaj. Next, a presentation on Raksha Bandhan explained the importance of this Hindu festival, which has been celebrated for thousands of years, and its relevance in today’s society.
Shri. Gaurav Singhal, Joint Secretary of HSS, N.J., elaborated on the historical relevance of the festival and how this tradition has been passed on since time immemorial. He explained that traditionally this festival was about a sister tying a rakhi (sacred thread bracelet that symbolizes brotherhood and protection) to her brother and seeking his protection, but, as time passed, this was extended to everyone in society. According to a press release, Singhal asked everyone present at the event, especially the children, to become strong both physically and intellectually so as to be in a position to help each other and society.
Children from HSS tied rakhis to the firefighters and to each other, taking a vow that they will protect each other in times of need and also protect society and dharma (the good).
With the recent passing of Sept. 11, the festival sought to inculcate the same spirit of service to society as the hundreds of firefighters and policemen who died trying to protect their fellow human beings on that tragic day, thus reminding everyone of the societal obligation that Hindu religion has always emphasized.
Eosso and McMahon mentioned how the vow everyone took during this occasion is similar to the vow that firefighters take to protect their fellow firefighters when they join the service. They then went over some fire safety tips with the kids and adults, which everyone enjoyed. Both Eosso and McMahon thanked HSS for inviting them to the Raksha Bandhan program and stressed the need for such an interaction in the community, as it provides a platform for good things to penetrate the community, especially among young kids. They said the message of Raksha Bandhan that Hindu religion teaches is very relevant today, as it reminds everyone of their duty towards the community they live in.
The program ended with a prayer for universal peace, and the kids had a chance to see the fire truck up close with Eosso and McMahon explaining how they operate it. A delicious lunch was served after the event.