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Raksha Bandhan

August 19

Raksha Bandhan, Rakhi, A festival of brother sister love.

Raksha Bandhan, commonly called Rakhi, is one of India’s most heartfelt and widely celebrated festivals. The festival, which usually falls in the Hindu month of Shravan (August), is dedicated to celebrating the bond of love, care, and protection between brothers and sisters. The term ‘Raksha Bandhan’ itself translates to ‘bond of protection’ in Sanskrit.

This auspicious festival involves the sister tying a protective thread, or Rakhi, around her brother’s wrist, symbolizing her love and prayers for her brother’s well-being and lifelong vow to protect her. Tying the Rakhi is often accompanied by applying a tilak on the brother’s forehead, exchange of sweets, and gift-giving. The ceremony concludes with the brother offering a gift to his sister as a token of his love and appreciation.
The roots of Raksha Bandhan can be traced back to ancient India, and the festival has evolved over centuries, carrying a rich historical and mythological significance. It is linked with several historical and mythical narratives in the Puranas and the Mahabharata.

One popular story associated with the festival is that of Lord Krishna and Draupadi. It is said that Draupadi once tore a strip of silk off her sari and tied it around Krishna’s wrist to staunch the bleeding from a battlefield wound, and Krishna declared her to be his sister, even though they were not related. Since then, it has become a tradition for sisters to tie a Rakhi around their brother’s wrists.

Another legend connects Raksha Bandhan with the Mughal period when the queen of Chittor sent a Rakhi to the Mughal emperor Humayun, seeking help against the invasion of Bahadur Shah. Touched by her gesture, Humayun immediately set off with his troops to protect her.
Raksha Bandhan celebrates familial bonds, mutual respect, protection, love, and care between siblings. However, its significance extends beyond the biological relationship, embodying a broader perspective where the Rakhi symbolizes a protective bond between individuals who share a sister-brother-like relationship. Many people tie Rakhis to their neighbors, close friends, and others, widening the festival’s scope to denote communal harmony and goodwill.

In recent times, the traditional notion of the festival has further expanded. Today, it is not uncommon for sisters to tie Rakhis on each other’s wrists or for a sister to promise protection to her brother, reflecting evolving gender roles and societal norms.

While Raksha Bandhan primarily remains a Hindu festival, it has transcended religious boundaries. Different communities across the country celebrate it, embodying India’s diverse yet unified spirit.

Raksha Bandhan is a festival celebrating love, duty, and the protective bond between siblings. It is a day that strengthens family ties, reaffirms mutual respect, and emphasizes the importance of protecting and caring for one another. The traditions of Raksha Bandhan, replete with their symbolic meaning, reflect the core values of Indian society and offer a beautiful way of expressing love and respect within the family.


August 19
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