Tuesday, August 4, 2009

About Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan (the bond of protection in Hindi) is a Hindu festival, which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. It is celebrated on the full moon of the month of Shraavana.

The festival is marked by the tying of a rakhi, or holy thread by the sister on the wrist of her brother. The elder brother in return offers a gift to his sister and vows to look after her same while an elder sister returns offers to her younger brother. The brother and sister traditionally feed each other sweets. It is not necessary that the rakhi can be given only to a brother by birth; any male can be "adopted" as a brother by tying a rakhi on the person, that is "blood brothers and sisters", whether they are cousins or a good friend. Indian history is replete with women asking for protection, through rakhi, from men who were neither their brothers, nor Hindus themselves. Rani Karnavati of Chittor sent a rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun when she was threatened by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Humayun abandoned an ongoing military campaign to ride to her rescue.
The rakhi may also be tied on other special occasions to show solidarity and kinship (not necessarily only among brothers and sisters), as was done during the Indian independence movement.

Perhaps the single most important way of celebrating Raksha Bandhan is by tying the rakhi. A sister ties a rakhi to the wrist of her brother. The tying of a rakhi signifies her asking of her brother for his protection and love for the sister. The brother in turn, accepts the rakhi, confirms his love and affection for his sister and shows this with gifts and money. It is a family event where all members of family, dressed in finery, gather and celebrate. The tying of rakhi is followed by a family feast.

On this day the sisters also tie a 'loomba' to the bangle of their brother's wife. A loomba is a loop of string with a charm or some other item attached to the loop of string. This charm or item then dangles from the bangle. The sisters then receive money from their sister's in law.

The origin of the festival is mostly attributed to one of the following mythological incidents:

1. Indra's fight with Vritra - Indra, the king of devtas (gods), had lost his kingdom to the asura (demon) Vritra. At the behest of his Guru Brihaspati, Indra's wife Shachi tied a thread around her husband's wrist to ensure his victory in the upcoming duel.

2. Draupadi and Krishna during the Rajsuya yagya - After Shishupal's death, Krishna was left with a bleeding finger. Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, had torn a strip of silk off her sari and tied it around Krishna's wrist to stop the flow of blood. Touched by her concern, Krishna had declared himself bound to her by her love. He further promised to repay the debt many fold. Many years later when Draupudi was about to be shamed by being disrobed in front of the whole court by her evil brother-in-law Duryodhana, she called on Krishna to help her, and he did by divinely elongating her sari so it could not be removed.

Other significant myth's, revolving this sacred festivial, have been passed down for generations in families across India.

Guys!!! Beware of things like this too!!!!

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