Raksha Bandhan, also called Rakhi, is a festival dedicated to celebrating the sacred love between brothers and sisters. The word ‘Raksha’ which means Protection and ‘Bandhan’ which means Relation. Raksha Bandhan, therefore, means Bond of protection. It is a Hindu festival celebrated on a Full Moon night, in the month of Sravana, on the last day of Hindu Lunar calendar.
On this day, sisters tie a Rakhi – a bracelet made of red, yellow and gold interwoven threads, on the wrist of their brothers and in return receive gifts from them. It represents a form of bond and ritual protection.
Rakhi Purnima or Kajari Purnima or Nariyal Purnima are the other different forms of Rakhi in different states.
When is Raksha Bandhan in 2018?
Raksha Bandhan would be celebrated on the 26th of August, Sunday in the year 2018.
Purnima Tithi will begin on 25th August 2018 at 03:16 p.m. and will end at 05:25 p.m. on 26th August 2018.
The thread ceremony will last for 11hours and 26 minutes. It will begin at 05:59 a.m. and will continue till 05:25 p.m.
The duration for the Apaharan time Raksha Bandhan Muhurat will last for 2hours and 33minutes. It will start at 01:39 p.m. and will continue till 04:12 p.m.
Why do we celebrate Raksha Bandhan?
Raksha Bandhan celebrates the bond between a brother and a sister. Not just limited to blood relationships, sister-in-law, cousins, nephew etc. also celebrates Raksha Bandhan.
Raksha Bandhan celebrates and symbolizes the unmatched bond of respect and love. Also, it conveys a message that has a social and spiritual significance. When a woman ties a Rakhi to a man, it becomes his duty to protect her from all odds.
What is the origin of Raksha Bandhan festival?
Raksha Bandhan originated centuries ago. There are many stories which contribute to it’s origin. Some of the theories are-
Rani Karmavati of Chittor- When Chittor faced threats of invasion from the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, Rani Karmavati- the widowed Queen of Chittor sent a Rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun as a request to save her family from defeat. Although Humayun left his on-going camp in Bengal immediately, he failed to save the kingdom or the Rani.
Sachi and Lord Indra Dev- According to Bhavishya Purana, there was once a fierce battle between the Gods and Demons. Lord Indra was having a tough fight against the powerful Demon King, Bali. Seeing this, Indra dev’s wife went to Lord Vishnu who gave her a holy bracelet to tie to Lord Indra Dev’s wrist on Shravan Purnima. Blessed with the powers Indra Dev successfully defeated King Bali.
King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi- Lord Vishnu, extremely pleased with his disciple King Bali’s devotion promised to guard his kingdom. However, Goddess Lakshmi wanted her husband to be with her in the abode in Vaikunth. Disguised as a Brahmin she went to Bali and sought refuge in his castle telling him that her husband is away on some errand. It is said that on a full moon night on the month of Shravan, she tied a holy thread on the wrist of King Bali praying for his well-being, protection and happiness. Touched by her affection, King Bali granted a boon to the Goddess where she asked him to release her husband. The Lord and the Goddess then revealed themselves and King Bali asked Lord Vishnu to return to his abode.
Lord Krishna And Draupadi – In Mahabharata, during the Rajsuya Yagna after Shishupal’s death, Lord Krishna hurt his index finger while hurling the Sudarshan Chakra. Draupadi- the wife of the Pandavas, immediately tore her saree and tied it around Lord Krishna’s finger to prevent it from bleeding. Touched by the gesture, he vowed Draupadi’s care and protection on himself. He kept his vow during her Vastra Haran in King Dhritarashtra’s court.
Queen Kunti and Abhimanyu- Abhimanyu was Queen Kunti’s grandson and the son of Arjun and Subhadra. She tied a sacred thread on Abhimanyu’s wrist during the battle of Mahabharata as a measure of protection.
Santoshi Maa- Lord Ganesha’s sister Manasa visited to tie Rakhi to Ganesha on the auspicious day of Raksha Bandhan once. Seeing this, his sons Labh and Kush started asking for a sister from the Lord. Giving in to their demands, Ganesha created Santoshi Maa. She was created from divine flames that emerged from his consorts – Riddhi and Siddhi.
What are the materials required to perform Raksha Bandhan?
The sisters need to prepare the “Thaali’ of the Puja. The Thaali contains diya, chawal, roli, sweets and most importantly the Rakhis.
How to perform the Raksha Bandhan Puja?
- Get up early in the morning and take a bath to purify the body and soul.
- Offer prayers to the God.
- Take a small wooden platform and decorate it with Rangoli on all sides. The brother sits on it.
- The sister then ties the Rakhi on the wrist of the brother, chanting mantras in Sanskrit and prays for their happiness and well-being.
- She then puts the rice and roli on his forehead.
- Then she moves the Thaali in a circular pattern in front of him for the Aarti.
- The brothers in return promise to stand by their sisters through all good and bad phase of their life. They pledge to take full care of their sisters. Also, they offer gifts to the sisters.