Raksha Bandhan is a festival to celebrate the sacred relationship of a brother and a sister. Raksha Bandhan is mainly celebrated in India, this important festival also holds great important for all religions including Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains in other parts of the world. Also known as Rakhi or Rakhi Purnima, as it falls on the day of the full moon. This year, Raksha bandhan falls on Thursday, 15 August 2019.
The name 'Raksha Bandhan' means 'a bond of protection'. On this special day, brothers make a promise to protect their sisters from all harms and troubles and the sisters pray to protect their brothers from all evil. The festival is celebrated on Shravan Purnima which generally falls in the month of August. The sisters tie a silk thread called Rakhi on their brother's wrist and pray for their well being and likewise the brothers promise to take care of their sisters.
There have been a lot of examples in history where rakhi has not just been a festival for raksha or protection. According to ancient mythology, saints used to tie rakhi to the people who came to seek their blessings. They also tied the sacred thread to themselves to guard themselves from evil. This day is truly 'Papa Todak, Punya Pradayak Parva' or the day that “blesses ones with boons and ends all sins” as mentioned in ancient scriptures.
The ritual of Raksha bandhan strengthens the bond of love between brothers and sisters everywhere; it is also known to exceed the confines of the family. Rakhi is also sometimes tied on the wrists of close friends or neighbours; this bond underscores the need for an amicable social life, in which people can co-exist peacefully as brothers and sisters. Everybody in the community promises to protect each other in such congregational Rakhi Utsavs, promoted by the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
Rakhi dates back to thousands of years and has been represented and repeated itself within many famous Indian mythologies. According to the Bhagavata Purana, the Demon King Bali, who was a great worshipper of Lord Vishnu, asked him to come and live with him at his palace. Lord Vishnu’s wife, Goddess Lakshmi, paid a visit to King Bali and tied a Rakhi on his wrist, which forced him to grant her a favour. In turn Goddess Lakshmi asked him for Lord Vishnu’s return, Lord Vishnu had committed himself to protect King Bali from any danger after seeing his dedication.
So this year, if you have a brother or sister, shower them with all your love and support, they will return the same to you and strengthen the bonds of your family. And if you don’t have either, find someone who means as much to you as a sibling and give them this token of love and protection. It is truly one of the greatest honors one can ever receive.