Significance of Raksha Bandhan

Festivals are the spirit of India. With verities of food, colours, customs, and celebrations, these festivals strengthen the family bond and relationships. Raksha Bandhan  is one of them. Raksha Bandhan means Bond of Protection. Where a sister ties a sacred thread to her brother praying for his well being and long life and he presents gifts to his sister.  

The beginning of Raksha Bandhan - As per Hindu Mythology and Shiv Puran, Devi Parvati tied a sacred thread to Vishnu on the full moon day of Shravan month (Hindu lunar calendar) to signify their bond as Brother and Sister. There on, it was celebrated as a bond of love between brother and sister. 

Later on, we read and hear many stories in our mythology about this sacred thread of bond. For instance in Puranas, Lord Ganesh has two sons Shubh and Laabh, they demanded a sister to their father for celebrating this occasion, and Lord Ganesha created a daughter, Devi Santoshi, and as the name says she brought happiness in their life. 

Earlier the sages tied a sacred thread to safeguard them from the evil powers. It is tied by both men and women to safeguard themselves from the evils while performing the wedding ritual and all the other holy rituals. 

And later on, this Raksha Bandhan  sacred thread is known as Rakhi. People believe that it is a thread tied by sister to her brother, and brother vows to protect his sister. Nevertheless, this is partially a wrong interpretation of Raksha Bandhan , after all the mythological stories, it was mainly celebrated by the Kshatriyas (warriors) in the month of Shravan. Sisters used to tie a sacred thread on the wrist of their brothers praying for their long life due to the wars they used to fight. And in return brothers used to provide the loving presents their sisters. So, it is not meant for the vow of a brother to protect his sister but sister praying for the long healthy life of her brother, and both wish for their bond and protect it with this thread.   

In history, we read the story of Rani Karnavati and Humayun.  Rani Karnavati sends Rakhi to Humayun addressing him as brother and seeking his help to fight a war with the Sultans of Gujarat. Detailed story can be read in the book- Itihaas Saga of India.

In modern history, it was popularised by Guru Rabindranath Tagore to promote the bond of love, spirituality, and unity between all the people of the country. And everyone started celebrating this festival on the full moon day of Shravan. This sacred thread is been tied not only between siblings but also to a sister-in-law in few traditions by wishing for the well being of both brother and his wife. 

In today's scenario, this sacred thread has taken a form of special Rakhi, market has verities of fancy Rakhis that is celebrated with bunches of sweets, chocolates, and gifts for the occasion. Females tie this sacred thread not only to their brothers but also to neighbours, colleagues, students to celebrate the warmth of oneness and binding of the families. Anyhow, India is the only country where you find such large number of festivals and unity between people no matter of hundreds of diversities. 

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