Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is a Hindu festival celebrated in almost every part of India. Raksha Bandhan means “bond of protection”. It is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu luni-solar calendar month of Sharavana, which typically falls in Gregorian calendar month of August.
The festival celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters. It is also popularly used to celebrate any brother-sister type of relationship between men and women who may or may not be biologically related. On Raksha Bandhan, a sister ties a rakhi (sacred thread) on her brother’s wrist with a prayer for his prosperity and happiness. This symbolizes the sister’s love. The brother gives her a token gift and a promise to protect her.
This is how a Rakhi looks like.
Now coming to the question why is it observed? There are many myths and legends about the celebration of Raksha Bandhan. Let me tell you one of them.
BALI ND VISHNU(The preserver god)
According to Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana (Indian Literature Books ), after Vishnu won the three worlds from the demon King Bali, Bali asked Vishnu to stay with him in his palace, a request Vishnu granted. Vishnu’s wife, Goddess Lakshmi did not like the palace or his new found friendship with Bali, and preferred that her husband and she return to heaven. So she went to Bali, tied a rakhi and made him a brother to her. Bali asked her what gift she desired. Lakshmi asked that Vishnu be freed from the request that he live in Bali’s palace. Bali consented, as well accepted her as his sister.
Raksha Bandhan is an ancient festival of the Indian subcontinent, and its history dates back thousands of years.
According to one legendary narrative, when Alexander The Great invaded India in 326 BCE, Roxana (or Roshanak, his wife) sent a sacred thread to Porus, asking him not to harm her husband in battle. In accordance with tradition, Porus, the king of Kaikeya Kingdom, gave full respect to the rakhi. In the Battle of Hydaspes, when Porus saw the rakhi on his own wrist and restrained himself from attacking Alexander personally.
So now you know why Rakhi is celebrated and how it represents a beautiful bond in between a brother and a sister.
Rabrindranath Tagore wrote a beautiful poem about Rakhi.
The love in my body and heart
For the earth’s shadow and light
Has stayed over years.
With its cares and its hope it has thrown
A language of its own
Into blue skies.
It lives in my joys and glooms
In the spring night’s buds and blooms
Like a Rakhi-band
On the Future’s hand.
So why don’t you tie a Rakhi to you brother as well and celebrate your brother sister bond.
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Lots of Love