My India — Festivals
Festivals of India — Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan is an ancient Hindu festival that ritually celebrates the affectionate bond between brothers and sisters. It is also called Rakhi Purnima, or simply Rakhi (sacred thread of love). ‘Raksha’ means protection and ‘Bandhan’ means a bond (a bond of protection).
The festival is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu calendar month of Shravana (Shravana Purnima), and typically falls in August every year. In 2014, it is celebrated on August 10.
As per traditions, on this day sisters tie a Rakhi (sacred thread of love) on their brothers’ wrist as a mark of affection, sisterly love and sublime sentiments, and pray for their well being. The brothers in return accept the love with a promise to protect their sisters and offer them gifts. The brothers wear the Rakhi which pulsates with sisterly love and sublime sentiments for the entire day.
The significance of this festival is one of the several occasions in which family get together and ties are affirmed in India. It not only strengthens the bond of love between brothers and sisters, but also transcends the confines of the family. It symbolizes the sisters love and prayers for brothers’ well-being, and brothers’ lifelong vow to protect their sisters. It strengthens the chaste bond of love between sisters and brothers, one of the deepest and noblest of human emotions. It has a broader social significance as it spreads harmony. It also gives a woman an opportunity to send a Rakhi to a man as a way of saying, ‘let us just be friends,’ without hurting his soft feelings for her. The sacred thread of Rakhi binds the most beautiful relationship in an inseparable bond of love and trust.