Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival that celebrates the bond between siblings. On this day sisters tie a holy thread (also known as a rakhi) on their brothers’ wrists. According to Hindu culture, the tying of the rakhi symbolises that the sister prays for her brother’s wellbeing, while the brother vows to protect the sister forever.
The festival is observed on Shraavana, which is the last day of the Hindu Lunar calendar. This year Raksha Bandhan will be celebrated on August 3.
The word Raksha translates to ‘protection’ and Bandhan translates to ‘bond’, therefore the day signifies a protective bond amongst siblings. After the ritual of tying the Rakhi is over, the brother gifts his sister sweets, money or presents, this observance is known as Shagun.
According to Hindu mythology, there are many different reasons why we celebrate this day. Many believe that the day was intended to worship the God of the Sea- Varuna. Many refer to this festival as Nariyal Purnima, to pay tribute to Lord Varuna; people offered him coconuts and performed ceremonial bathing at the waterfront.
It is also believed that once when Lord Krishna cut his finger while flying a kite, Draupadi rushed to him and tore a piece of her saree and bandaged his finger with it. Lord Krishna was touched by this gesture, so he promised to protect Draupadi, and kept his promise during the ‘cheer haran.’
Rakhi is a Hindu celebration, but the festival is celebrated by people from other religions as well. The celebration is a representation of a universal bond between siblings, therefore it is celebrated in many countries of the world, like the USA, UAE, Mauritius, Nepal, and also Sri Lanka.
Although siblings fight and do not always agree with each other, there is no denying the fact that most siblings would do just about anything for each other. Raksha Bandhan reminds us to appreciate and celebrate our siblings.