01Raksha Bandhan, also popularly called as Rakhi, celebrates the pious bond between brothers and sisters. It is a famous Hindu festival but is celebrated by people from other religions as well. The sisters tie a holy thread on their brother’s wrist as a mark of love and affection and in return, the brothers promise to protect their sisters and offer them gifts.

This year, Rakhi will fall on August 15 and the auspicious time for the thread ceremony will begin at 5:54 AM and will end at 5:59 PM (12 hours and 5 minutes).

The festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Sharvan Purnima, also called Rakhi Poornima, Nariyal Poornima and Kajari Poornima in different states and is celebrated by following different rituals. The religious journey of Amarnath Ji also starts with Guru Purnima and ends on the day of Rakhi.

Indian mythology provides many reasons to celebrate this day. For instance,  according to one account, as per the Bhavishya Purana, Indra, who is the king of the Devas was advised by Deva Guru Brihaspati to wear a rakhi to protect himself against the demons he was facing while fighting Vritra Asura. It is believed that Sachi Devi tied a Rakhi to Indra.

According to another mythological reference, Rakhi was intended to worship the God of Sea – Varuna. He was given offerings of coconut and ceremonial bathing at waterfronts. Usually, the fishermen make the offerings and therefore the festival is also called Nariyal Purnima.

The lesser-known story is that of Lord Krishna and Draupadi. Once, when Lord Krishna was flying a kite he cut his finger. After seeing this, Draupadi rushed to him and tore a piece of cloth from her saree and tied it to Krishna’s finger. As he was touched by this gesture he promised to protect Draupadi and kept his promise during the ‘cheer haran.’

In many states of India, there is a tradition of putting a Bhojali or Bhujari on the top side of the brother’s ear by the sisters which is done for the longevity of the brothers. Among the Brahmins of  Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra and Orissa the festival is called Avni Avitam.

The Postal Department of the Government of India also prepares special envelopes to put the rakhis in and to send them to the loved ones.