Raksha Bandhan

Why do we celebrate Raksha Bandhan?

Raksha Bandhan is a traditional Hindu festival that celebrates the special bond between brothers and sisters. The festival’s name can be roughly translated as “bond of protection” or “tie of protection.” Raksha Bandhan is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu lunar month of Shravana, which usually falls in August.

The history and origin of the festival can be traced back to various historical and mythological sources:

1. Mythological Origin: One of the most well-known stories associated with Raksha Bandhan is the legend of Lord Krishna and Draupadi from the Indian epic, Mahabharata. According to the legend, when Krishna once cut his finger, Draupadi tore a piece of her saree and tied it around his finger to stop the bleeding. Touched by her gesture, Krishna vowed to protect and support her in times of need. This act of bonding between Krishna and Draupadi is often cited as an example of the spirit of Raksha Bandhan.

2. Historical References: There are historical references to the practice of tying protective threads. In medieval India, queens and noblewomen would send threads to neighboring rulers as a symbol of friendship and alliance. This practice is believed to have been a precursor to the modern-day Rakhi (the decorative thread tied by sisters on their brothers’ wrists).

3. Mughal Influence: During the Mughal era, Rakhi was used as a way for Hindu women to seek protection from Mughal rulers for their brothers. The Rakhi was seen as a symbol of goodwill and a plea for security.

4. Regional Variations: Raksha Bandhan is celebrated with different names and traditions in various parts of India. For example, in Nepal, it is observed as “Janai Purnima,” where both Brahmins and Chhetris change their sacred threads. In the western state of Gujarat, the festival is known as “Rakhi Purnima.”

5. Modern Significance: Today, the festival is celebrated as a day for siblings to come together, express love and care for each other, and strengthen their bond. Sisters tie colorful Rakhis on their brothers’ wrists, and in return, brothers often give gifts and promise to protect and support their sisters. The festival transcends biological siblings and can also be observed between cousins, friends, and even neighbors. Here are some Raksha Bandhan gift ideas to give your brothers and sisters.

The festival has evolved over time, reflecting changing cultural norms and societal shifts, while still maintaining its core essence of celebrating the special relationship between brothers and sisters.


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