In India, where family is considered the foundation of society and family relationships are revered, Raksha Bandhan is an annual festival specifically dedicated to celebrating the bonds of love between brothers and sisters. It is celebrated at the full moon of the month of Shravan in the Hindu lunar calendar, which usually occurs in August.
Raksha Bandhan celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters.
Raksha Bandhan has its roots in Hindu mythology. One of the stories in the epic Mahabharata describes how Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas, tied a strip of her sari around the bleeding wrist of Lord Krishna after he received a wound in battle. Touched by her concern, Lord Krishna vowed he would always consider her a sister and promised to protect her from all evils.
This legend is commemorated during the festival of Raksha Bandhan when women pray for their brothers’ safety while men vow to protect their sisters from evil. This is done symbolically as women tie thread bracelets on the wrists of their brothers and receive gifts or cash in return. The bracelets are called ‘rakhi’ and are made from colored thread decorated with colorful foil or paper flowers, paste ‘jewels’ or sandalwood beads. Men wear these bracelets on their wrists until they fall off on their own accord, usually within a few days.
Indian women choose between different designs of ‘rakhi’ at a shop. Rakhis can be bought or personally made by the girl.
On the morning of Raksha Bandhan women and girls dress in new clothes, pray for their brothers’ well being and fast until they tie rakhi on their brothers’ wrists. They put red vermilion on their brothers’ foreheads prior to tying the rakhi and give them sweets to eat, signifying a wish that their life should be filled with sweetness. Men who have no sisters or those living alone far from home, are ‘adopted’ by women friends as brothers on this holiday which in a more general sense, celebrates harmony and peace for all mankind.
School girls tie 'rakhi’ on the wrist of a male classmate in celebration of Raksha Bandhan.
Mela wishes you peace and harmony for Raksha Bandhan!