Raksha Bandhan is just around the corner and the markets are filled with vendors selling colorful Rakhis. It is the celebration of the beautiful bond of love that brothers and sisters share and the vow of protection that the brothers make to their sisters. It denotes utmost love, care and affection and speaks high of a heart-warming relationship between brothers and sisters. This year it’s on full moon Sunday August 15th.
History of Raksha Bandhan This ancient Hindu festival is also known as Rakhi Purnima (Full Moon). It is celebrated on the full moon of the Hindu month ‘Shravana’. It is a public holiday in several regions in India, dependent on what day of the week it falls on.
Why Raksha Bandhan is celebrated? Raksha Bandhan is celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. As the concept of love and duty between siblings is universal, this festival is popular with many cultures in India and transcends its Hindu origin.
To mark their relationship, on the morning of Raksha Bandhan, the sister and brother will gather together with their family. Often in front of a lamp, the sister ties a Rakhi (thread) on her brother’s right wrist. This symbolizes their emotional bond and the renews the vow of the brother to protect his sister.
Rakhis can also be used to celebrate other relationships between friends and neighbors. It is said that giving a Rakhi is a polite way for a girl to put someone from the opposite sex who is making unwanted romantic advances into the friend-zone. Rakhis are often made from silk with gold and silver threads and can be decorated with sequins, and semi-precious stones.
Did you know? The word Raksha means ‘protection’, whilst Bandhan means ‘to tie’. In Indian history, Rakhis have been used to strengthen kingdoms and forge alliances. One of the oldest tales associated with Rakhis is when Alexander the Great was undertaking his invasion of the India subcontinent in 326 BC. Encountering the powerful King Porus, it is said that Alexander’s wife had approached Porus and tied a Rakhi on his hand to ensure the safety of her husband.
According to Hindu scripture, Krishna considered Draupadi his sister. When Krishna cut his finger while beheading Shishupal, Draupadi immediately tore off a piece of her sari and bandaged his cut. Krishna said that with this loving act, she wrapped him in debt, and he would repay each “thread” when the time arrives. Indeed, whenever Draupadi needed Krishna’s protection she fervently prayed for his help, he came to the rescue and gave her unlimited cloth. This is one of the stories of the origin of the Raksha Bandhan festival. Happy Rakhshabandhan to all!!
Rakhi is used as a sign that a brother will protect his sister from any kind of harm, as well as the sister also praying for the success of her brother. This holy festival is also observed by the religions of Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and others. It is one of the ancient festivals which have been observed since the time of Raja’s and Maharaja’s in historic India.