Raksha Bandhan or the festival of Rakhi symbolizes a protective bond that brings with it a feeling of trust and security. Though Raksha Bandhan is celebration of ties between the brother and sister, there are legends that do not involve only biological siblings.
‘Raksha’ stands for protection. ‘Bandhan’ signifies the bond of love. The festival strengthens the bond between a brother and a sister who ties the sacred thread on his wrist as a symbol of her love and affection. She prays for the long life of her brother, who younger he maybe to her, blesses her and takes a pledge to guard her.
In a majority of Hindu homes, the Rakhi festival is celebrated with great fervor. The celebration takes place in traditional way, including an ‘aarti’ (a ritual of worshipping), tying the thread around the right wrist of one’s brother and putting a ‘tilak’ (vermilion powder) on his forehead.
The festival draws from a rich heritage of traditions and tales that can be traced back to the ages of the great mythological epics. According to Mahabharata, Yudhishthira, the eldest Pandava, asked Lord Krishna how best he could protect himself from impending evils and catastrophe. The lord suggested him to perform the Raksha ceremony.
There is an anecdote that shows how potent the force of Raksha is! Once, Indra, the king of the heavens was challenged by the demons. Humbled and crestfallen, Indra approached Brihaspati, the Guru of Gods, who indicated to him that the auspicious moment for conquering the demon was Shravan Purnima.
On that day, Indra’s wife Shachee Devi, accompanied by Brihaspati tied a Rakhi around his right wrist. Indra then vanquished the demons. This is how the festival originated, it is believed.
The tradition of giving presents and gifts is an important ritual of this unique festival. The brother usually gives his sister a nice gift. It acts as a token of his sentiments. It serves as a precious memory of a special day.