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The pure bond of love between a sister and a brother is one of the deepest of all human emotions. Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is celebrated in the month of Shravan (August) on a full moon day according to the Hindu calendar. It is a special occasion that celebrates the emotional bonding by tying a sacred thread or a colorful and decorated band on the brother’s wrist by the sister to mark the sublime sentiments and sisterly love. In return, the brother promises to protect his sister from all evils and offers Raksha Bandhan gifts to her.
The meaning of Raksha Bandhan and the History behind it
Raksha means “to protect” and Bandhan means “binding or bond”. The Indian mythology offers various religious reasons to celebrate this special day. According to mythology, Rakhi was celebrated to worship the sea God Varuna and hence coconuts are offered, ceremonial baths and fairs besides rivers accompany the festival. There is another myth that describes the ritual being performed by Yamuna and Indrani for their respective brothers Yama and Indra. Even in Mahabharata, we find Krishna advising Yudhisthir to tie the sacred Rakhi to guard himself against any sort of evils. Thus, the practice of tying thread continued and Raksha Bandhan festival is celebrated.
The pages of history reveal that even the Rajputs and Maratha queens had sent Rakhis to Mughal kings, despite their religious differences and the kings have offered help and protection at crucial moments. Matrimonial alliances have also been established between different kingdoms after Rakshabandhan was celebrated. History also states that the great Hindu King Porus did not attack Alexandar because his wife had tied a Rakhi on Porus’s hand before the battle started urging him not to hurt her husband.
Importance of Raksha Bandhan
Rakhi is mainly a festival of protection and people usually go to the priests in the temples and tie a sacred thread to their hands. In Hindu religious functions the priest often ties a thread to the wrist of the person performing the ritual and it is believed that even the sacred thread across the chest acts as Raksha to the person wearing it. Tying a Rakhi is not limited to a brother and sister, but it can be tied by a wife to her husband or by a disciple to the Guru. The ritual only strengthens the bond of love, care and respect. When it is tied on the wrist of neighbors and close friends, it reveals the need for a harmonious social life and conveys a message of universal brotherhood and sisterhood. It also conveys the need for nurturing purity in thought, words and deeds and positive qualities.
The celebration is marked by great excitement and happiness among young girls and women. The preparation for the celebration begins well in advance and the festivities start early in the morning when everyone gets ready by taking a bath and gathers to worship the deities. It is after seeking the blessings of God that the sister performs an arti, puts tika and chawal on her brother’s forehead and ties the sacred thread while chanting the mantras. She offers him sweets and gifts and the brother vows to take care of her and stay with her at the time of need. He too gives her sister sweets and return gifts. The family reunion itself becomes the reason to celebrate. Tasty dishes, sweets, gifts, dance and songs accompany the celebration.
Perfect Raksha Bandhan gifts for brothers and sisters
Rakhi brings the entire family together and the day begins with everyone dressing up in beautiful traditional attires. Brothers and sisters exchange gifts and wish the well being of each other. Those who are unable to meet, they send happy Rakshabandhan cards and gifts to each other. Here are some amazing gift ideas that can surprise your brother and sister.
Gifts for sisters:
Gifts for brothers:
This year, Raksha Bandha festival will be celebrated on 29th August, so celebrate this festival for all your dear ones for a peaceful existence, universal brotherhood and self perseverance.