In Sanskrit, the term Raksha Bandhan translates as “bond of protection.”
It is observed on the full-moon day, on the 5th month in the Hindu lunar calendar, Raksha Bandhan is a popular Hindu holiday celebrating the love between a brother and sister.
On this day, a sister ties a threaded amulet, known as a rakhi, around a brother’s wrist, honoring their relationship. The bracelet symbolizes the brother’s oath to protect his sister throughout her life, and the sister’s prayers and blessings for protection and wellbeing of her brother.
The origin of this celebration can be found in the Indian epic The Mahabharata, when Lord Krishna cut his finger. Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas who considered Krishna to be like a brother, immediately tore off a piece of her sari and tied the cloth around his bleeding finger. Smiling and grateful, Krishna promised to return the favor to her some day.
Another Legend has it that in 326 BCE, when Alexander the Great invaded India, Alexander’s wife Roxana, out of concern for his safety, had a thread sent to Indian King Porus, requesting him to not harm her husband in battle. Porus is said to have respected her wish, and refrained from killing Alexander during the famed “Battle of the Hydaspes.” Though Alexander ultimately won the battle, Porus had earned his respect, and was thus made a governor of part of his kingdom.
HOW TO CELEBRATE IT ?
Before the festivities begin, a sister first goes out to look for a talisman or amulet, which she thinks her brother might like and would suite his unique personality. A simple activity as such helps to cultivate appreciation for the brother’s personality.
On the D-Day, sister customarily turns on an oil lamp and offers it to a family deity and prays for her brother’s long health and happiness, then she ties the sacred thread to his hand and feeds him a sweet. Then the brother completes the ritual by reciprocating the action of feeding a sweet and giving a present to the sister.