The unique bond between a brother and his sister cannot be described in words. This extraordinary relationship among the siblings has been given importance since ages and in all over the world. However, in India, this special bond is celebrated with great pomp and show with a festival named "Raksha Bandhan", which is especially dedicated to the love between the siblings, specially a brother and sister.
This unique festival of Hindus is not only commemorated throughout India but also in the other countries such as Nepal. The gala event of Raksha Bandhan is rejoiced on the day of the full moon, according to the Hindu calendar, in Shravana month, which is usually in the August month (as per the Gregorian calendar).
Raksha Bandhan And Its Meaning
The name Raksha Bandhan consists of two words - "Raksha" and "Bandhan", where Raksha means "Protection" and Bandhan mean "Bond". Therefore, the name Raksha Bandhan means the everlasting love and bond that brothers and sisters share between themselves.
The festival is not only meant for direct siblings but also between cousin brothers and sisters. Moreover, with the change in the traditional views and customs, nowadays, people have modernized the version of Raksha Bandhan which emphasizes on tying Rakhi to Bua (aunt), Bhabhi (sis-in-law) and Bhatija (nephew) as well.
Why Do We Celebrate Raksha Bandhan
The festival of Rakhi is not only celebrated to strengthen the bond between the siblings but it is also rejoiced for various other religious as well as mythological reasons as well, which are as mentioned below. Take a look.
1) Mythological Reasons To Celebrate Raksha Bandhan
According to the Bhavishya Purana, once Guru Brihaspati suggested Indra Devta to tie a Rakhi to protect himself from enemies while he was being defeated by Vritra Asura. Thus, Sachi Devi (Indra's companion) tied Rakhi to Lord Indra.
According to another mythological legend, Raksha Bandhan was the festival to worship Lord Varuna (who was believed to be the sea God). Thus, ceremonial bathing, gifting coconut and organizing fairs at the sea-shores are some important features of this festival. This festival is widely rejoiced by the fishermen who present Rakhi and coconut to Varuna. This occasion is also called "Narial Purnima" as per this legend.
One legend says that Goddess Lakshmi also tied a Rakhi to the King Bali and revered him as her brother to save her husband Vishnu from Bali's clutches. After accepting this Rakhi, Bali made Lakshmi his sister and set Vishnu free.
2) Historical Reasons To Celebrate Raksha Bandhan
Historical evidences say that once Purushottam (the King of Punjab) was about to gain victory over Alexander. At that time, his wife had tied Rakhi to the King Purushottam in order to save her husband Alexander from being killed.
According to another historical saga, during the rule of Humayun, the queen of Chittor - Rani Karnavati - had tied Rakhi to the great Humayun to save her kingdom from the evil attack of Bahadur Shah. Despite not being a Hindu, Humayun had granted her wish and rushed to help her out.
There are many religions in India that have different significances or meaning for Raksha Bandhan. For example, for the Jains, this festival is rejoiced by receiving a thread or woven bracelet from their priests. Raksha Bandhan is celebrated as Rakhari or Rakhadi by the Sikh community.
Thus, we see that Raksha Bandhan is celebrated all over India and in other countries for various reasons. The sister ties a Rakhi to his brother and prays for his health, prosperity and well-being. In return, the brother bestows her with gifts and blessings and promises to safeguard her from any kind of harmful situation or people. It is the duty of a brother to protect his sister and be by her side in any kind of bad circumstances throughout her life.