Here is why Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in India

Here is why Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in India
Here is why Raksha Bandhan is celebrated in India

The festival of brothers and sisters, Raksha Bandhan is just around the corner. This year Rakhi will be celebrated along with Independence day on August 15, 2019. On this day, sisters tie rakhi on brother’s wrist, in return they receive gifts and promise of protection against troubles in their life.

The auspicious festival is celebrated by almost everyone across India. Hindi film industry has made some special songs to celebrate the bond that sisters and brothers share. You can dance together to these songs or simply play it to add a depth of emotions to the ritual.

What does Raksha Bandhan mean?

The festival Raksha Bandhan is made of two words – ‘Raksha’ and ‘Bandhan’ which mean protection and to tie. Together they mean the to tie protection. The festival basically denotes the eternal love of a brother and sister and this does not always mean blood relations. Cousins, sisters, sisters-in-law, or foster siblings.

Why is it important?

In Hindus, Raksha Bandhan is celebrated majorly in northern and western parts of India as well as in Pakistan, Nepal, and Mauritius. In the Jain community, Jain priests distribute threads after ceremonies to the devotees. In Sikhism, however, the festival is called ‘Rakhari’ or ‘Rakhardi’ and celebrates the union of siblinghood in India.

How did it start?

Raksha Bandhan, according to a series of myths is a centuries-old origination and several tales are attached to the reason for the festival being celebrated. Some of the most believed myths are given here:

Krishna & Draupadi – From the tales of Mahabharata, Draupadi who was the wife of the Pandavas made Lord Krishna her brother by tying a rakhi on his wrist while Kunti tied the rakhi to her grandson Abhimanyu right before the war.

Yama & Yamuna – According to another legend, Yama, the death god did not meet his sister Yamuna for a period of twelve years that left Yamuna very sad. On getting advice from Ganga, Yama went to his sister and made her extremely happy. Yamuna fed Yama and took good care of him. On being happy, Yama asked his sister to ask for a gift. Yamuna said that she would want to meet Yama more often. Yama made his sister immortal after hearing this so that she could see him frequently.

Santoshi Maa – Shubh and Labh, who were the two sons of Lord Ganesha were unhappy about not having a sister. They requested for a sister from their father and were ultimately and Narada obliged them of a sister. This is how Santoshi Maa was made by Lord Ganesha and a sister was given to the two brothers.

Indra Dev & Sachi – The legend of Bhavishya Purana states that there was once a ferocious battle between gods and demons. Lord Indra was a deity of the sky, rains and thunderbolts and was fighting the battle as the god and was finding it difficult to win from Bali, the demon king. When no result could be seen, his wife Sachi went to Lord Vishnu and took a holy thread made of cotton from him. The holy thread was tied to Indra’s wrist during the battle and the demons got defeated by Lord Indra. According to this legend, the holy threads were not restricted to only brothers and sisters.

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