‘Raksha’ means protection and ‘Bandhan’ means bound. Thus ‘Raksha Bandhan‘ means the ‘Bond of Protection’.
On Raksha Bandhan day, the sisters tie a ‘rakhi’ (a silken thread) on their brothers’ wrist. This is a symbol of their love and respect for their brothers. Rakhi also signifies that the sisters pray for long life and well-being of their brothers. The brothers, in turn take a vow to always take care and protect their sisters from all evils and dangers. As a token of their love, the brothers either give cash or other gifts to their sisters.
Raksha Bandhan is one of the very significant festivals in India. This festival is celebrated by the brothers and sisters only. The brother-sister relationship is extremely special. The way they care for each other is beyond compare. One can never love or care for their friends as much as they love their siblings. The connection and bond one shares with brothers and sisters is simply matchless. No matter how much they fight with each other over trivial things, when the time comes, they stand by one another and extend their support.
The bond grows stronger as they age and go through various stages of life. They are there for each other in thick and thin. Elder brothers are highly protective of their sisters and the younger ones look up to their elder sisters for guidance. Likewise, elder sisters are extremely caring for their younger brothers and the younger ones seek their elder brother’s help and advice on various matters.
In Indian tradition, the frangible thread of rakhi is considered even stronger than an iron chain as it strongly binds brothers and sisters together in the circumference of mutual love and trust.
The festival was actually started by our Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore by tying a rakhi on a fellow countryman’s wrist. He did this to promote brotherhood and equality among the citizens of India. Since then, this festival is celebrated with great spirit and emotion by the people of India. Every year all the brothers and sisters look forward to this festival with great zeal and excitement.
Traditionally, this festival is celebrated by our Hindu brothers and sisters. In an era which is marked by movements for women’s liberation and rights, Raksha Bandhan can be celebrated as a festival that promotes brotherly-sisterly concerns and appreciates the complimentary gifts of a man and woman.
As per the Hindu calendar, Raksha Bandhan falls in Shravan maas also known as the Sawan month. It is celebrated on the last day of the Shravan mass which mostly falls in the month of August. The entire month of Sawan is considered to be auspicious as per the Hindu religion.
Raksha Bandhan is known by different names in different parts of the country. But however the essence of the festival remains the same and that is to celebrate the sacred brother-sister bond. This year, Raksha Bandhan is being celebrated on August 15. It coincides with Independence Day.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)