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The unique bond between a brother and his sister cannot be described in words. We Indians just need a reason to celebrate and therefore, like other festivals, raksha bandhan also holds a great significance for all of us. This year it is colliding with India's independence day as well.
The festival is not restricted to people of Hindu communities but it is celebrated across India with great zeal and fervour. The festival falls on the day is rejoiced on the day of the full moon, according to the Hindu calendar, in the Shravana month, which is usually in the August month, according to the Gregorian calendar.
Raksha Bandhan And Its Meaning
Raksha Bandhan is a Hindi term and 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 people who are brothers and sisters by blood, it is also for those who are brothers and sisters by bond. Moreover, with time, there were also changes in the tradition and customs and now this beautiful festival is not restricted to siblings, but people tie rakhis to thier loved one as well such as to our cousins, 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-
a. Mythological Reasons To Celebrate Raksha Bandhan-
In Bhavishya Purana, which is a mythological Hindu text, it is mentioned that 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 (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" by some.
It is also believed by some that Goddess Lakshmi 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. During that time, Alexander's wife tied Rakhi to the King Purushottam in order to save her husband 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 respected her wish and went to help her.
There are many religions in India that have different significance 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. It is the duty of a brother to protect his sister and stay by her side in any kind of bad circumstances throughout her life.
Happy Rakshabandhan to all!