Raksha Bandhan: The festival that celebrates brother-sister relationship

The Hindu festival has got so much significance that it is celebrated in almost all parts of India. The festival signifies the strength between the brother-sister relationship. The festival is called as Rakhi in some parts of the country. This special day falls in the Gregorian month of August when there is full moon and it is the Hindu Luni-solar month of Sharavana. This year it falls on August 7, 2017. If the word Raksha Bandhan is split then the word Raksha means protection and Bandhan means bond. Thus, protection of the bond is its meaning.

On this auspicious day, the sister ties a Rakhi on her brother’s hand and prays for his well-being and long life whereas in return the brother gives her a token of gift and pledges to protect her till death. What about the brothers and sisters living far apart? Thanks to the option of posting. The ceremony has lighted lamps and prayers enchanted. The sister also feeds her brother some sweets in the expectation of a return gift.

Significance and myths of the festival

The basic idea behind celebrating this occasion is to maintain the harmony between a brother and sister for all their life. Along with the bond of significance, there are other myths and stories associated as well with the festival. As the story goes there had been a war between demons and gods and during which the Hindu God of rains “Indra” was defeated by demon “King Bali.” In order to help Indra, his wife Sachi went to Lord Vishnu for help and he gave a bracelet made of cotton thread. The moment Sachi tied it on Indra’s wrist he could easily defeat Bali. Thus, the thread proved to be a symbol of protection against the evil power. Such situation has been seen in Mahabharat where Draupadi knotted the thread on Krishna’s hand and Kunti tied the rakhi on her grandson Abhimanyu’s hand prior to the war.

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There is also a “muhurtham” concept followed that is the specific period of time when the Rakhi can be tied. This time it lasts for 7 Hours and 33 minutes. In addition, the Purnima Tithi starts from 00.58 on August 7, 2017, and ends on August 8, 2017, at 02.10. It is not only being followed by the Hindus. The people from various religious backgrounds are following this festival. The day is referred to as Rakhardi or Rakhari in Jainisim and Sikhism as well as Janai Purnima or Rishitarpani in Nepal. The festival means “It is a tie of the knot of protection” in Sanskrit.

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