The festival of Raksha Bandhan is also popularly called as Rakhi or Rakhee. In Hindi, the term “Raksha Bandhan” literally means “the knot of protection”. It is an ancient Hindu festival symbolically celebrating the relationship of love and supreme duty between brothers and their sisters. The sister ties the Rakhi (or simply a Rakhi thread) on her brother’s wrist, then prays to God for the protection and long life of her brother. In return, the brother pledges to protect his sister from all evils and take care of her under all circumstances. Like many other festivals in India, this festival also affirms the strong family ties and marks the love among siblings in the family.
The festival is also an occasion to celebrate brother-sister like family ties between cousins or distant family members, sometimes between biologically unrelated men and women. To many, the festival transcends biological family, brings together men and women across religions, diverse ethnic groups and ritually emphasizes harmony and love. It is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Shraavana, and typically falls in August every year.
The festival in a broader sense can have two distinctly different significance –
Though the Rakhi festival is mainly a celebration between siblings of the opposite sex, over the years this has extended even to those people who are not biologically related as siblings. In fact, it has taken much broader perspective.
If a woman accepts any man as her brother, she can tie him a Rakhi and she will symbolically become his sister. That moment onwards, the man is duty-bound to protect her and take care of her.
In today’s modern world, in some cases, it is not even necessary that the Rakhi participants are of opposite sex. Sometimes, even sisters tie Rakhi to each other taking vow to protect each other in case of distress.
It has also become a social tool nowadays to bring together people of various beliefs and religions. To know more, click here.
The festival of Raksha Bandhan is traditionally celebrated to commemorate the everlasting bond between brothers and sisters. Though it is marked by a simple ceremony, in which a woman ties a Rakhi on her brother’s wrist, but it has got a great historical significance. To know more, click here.