Raksha Bandhan is one of the most prominent festivals in the Hindu tradition celebrating the unperishable bond of brother and sister. This famous Indian traditional ceremony reflects the praised faith of brothers and sisters.
This annual rite is not only celebrated in India but also has influenced people all over the world. This festival lies on the last day of the Hindu lunar calendar in the month of Shravan that falls in August.
Raksha Bandhan itself signifies the bond of protection that a brother promises to his sister for a lifetime. At this festival, sisters tie a rakhi (decorative amulet) on the wrist of their brother and pray for their well-being, prosperity, and health and get gifts in return from their brothers who promise to safeguard them for a lifetime. This brother-sister ritual depicts the responsibility of a brother of their potential care towards their sister.
This main festival in north India has so many stories and myths related to its celebration. One of the Hindu mythologies associated with it says that once there spread a war between the Gods and the Demons. The God of thunderbolts and rain, Lord Indra was fighting a tough, powerful demon king Bali which was not coming to an end as both were comparably strong enough. Getting worried Lord Indra’s wife Goddess Sachi went to the Sun God, Lord Vishnu who in turn gave her a holy bracelet after listening to her. Goddess Sachi tied the bracelet around her husband’s hand after which lord Indra defeated the demon king. Earlier the wives gave these sacred amulets to their husbands who went on war.
Another Hindu mythology shares a story of Lord Krishna and Draupadi. In Mahabharata, on the day of Sankranti, Lord Krishna got a cut on his finger while eating sugarcane. His wife Goddess Rukmani sent for help; meanwhile, Draupadi tore apart from her clothes and wrapped it around his wound on the finger. In return, Lord Krishna gave his words to Draupadi to protect her in times of misery.
One of the historical tales reflecting the tradition of this day goes around Mughal emperor Humayun and queen of Chittor, Rani Karnavati. When the Sultan of Gujarat attacked the widowed queen, it was hard for her to defeat him. She sent a rakhi to the emperor Humayun after which he sent of his troops to Chittoor to help the queen. Many tales are known from old times so one can get many phases of the story behind this festivity.
This festival is renowned by many other names in different states of India. In West Bengal and Odisha, Raksha Bandhan is also known by the name Jhulan Purnima, and on this day prayers are offered to Lord Krishna and Radha after which sisters tie rakhi on the wrist of their brother and wish for their well being. In Maharashtra, the festival is known by the name of Narali Poornima or coconut day festival. Prayers are offered to the God of the sea, Lord Varuna by the fishermen and receive his blessings. As a tradition coconut is offered to Lord Varuna and brother and sister celebrate their bonds through rakhi. In Nepal, this festival is called by the name Rishitarpani or Janai Purnima and celebrated by both the Hindus and Buddhist people of Nepal. The Hindu men change their threads tied around their chest while sisters tie the holy ribbon on their brother’s wrist.
Famed all over the world with different names, the essence of the festival remains the same. The bond of faith between a brother and sister has been unbreakable from ancient times. Although recalled by different old sagas, the festival celebrates the nexus of a brother and sister. Dwell into the festivity of the day and revel this auspicious day.