Posted at 02:15 PM ET, 08/10/2011

Raksha Bandhan festival preparations begin [photos]

A woman selling "Rakhis" waits for customers at her roadside stall Wednesday ahead of the Raksha Bandhan festival in Kolkata . (RUPAK DE CHOWDHURI - REUTERS)
Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs across India are preparing for Raksha Bandhan, or the “bond of protection” festival, which falls this Saturday.

The annual festival, also known as “Rakhi”, always falls on a full moon and symbolizes a sister’s love for her brother, and brother’s life-long vow to protect his sister.

On the day of the Raksha Bandhan, a sister ties a decorative thread called “rakhi” on the wrists of her brother. In return, he gives her money, sweets, and other gifts.

See photos of the brilliant colors of Raksha Bandhan below:

An Indian woman looks at a rakhi, a sacred thread tied on the wrist, at a shop ahead of Raksha Bandhan festival in Ahmadabad, India, Wednesday. (Ajit Solanki - AP)

An Indian Muslim trader, Moharamali, checks the Rakhi or sacred thread as he prepares a bunch of them for sale at his shop in Ahmadabad. (Ajit Solanki - ASSOCIATED PRESS)

School children stand in line to tie the rakhi on the hands of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, left, in New Delhi, India, Wednesday. (SAURABH DAS - ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A girl looks at rakhis, a sacred thread to be tied on the wrist of brothers on Raksha Bandhan, in Bombay, India, in August 2004. (RAJESH NIRGUDE - ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Indian Army soldiers stand with rakhis tied on their wrists after a function on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, on the outskirts of Jammu, India, Wednesday, August 2006. (CHANNI ANAND - ASSOCIATED PRESS)

School children tie Rakhi's on the wrist of Indian Border Security Force soldiers on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan festival at the India and Pakistan joint border check post, in Wagah, India, August 2006. (AMAN SHARMA - ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A woman ties a 'rakhi', on the wrist of a passerby during a function celebrating the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan in Calcutta, India, August 2009. (Bikas Das - ASSOCIATED PRESS)

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