Raksha Bandhan – a combination of two words – Raksha meaning protection and Bandhan is a bond. When you tie a thread around someone’s wrist, you are forging a bond that is meant to last a lifetime. Sisters tie a rakhi on the wrists of their brothers to show their love and devotion towards them and the brothers promise their undying love and protection in return. However, this is a day of celebration of any relationship that you hold close to your heart – if there is love and if there is a promise of protection, this is the day of celebration for you.
What is Rakshabandhan and when is it celebrated?
A festival that is most prominent in north India, Rakshabandhan is celebrated on the full moon of the Hindu month Shravan, which usually falls comes in July or August. The festival sees sisters tying the rakhi on the right wrist to protect them from all evil influences while praying for their long life and happiness. In return, the brothers give their sisters gifts, which are meant to assure their love and protection against any and all harm. The festival is more about celebrating that idea of being together and by renewing the promise each year, there is a revival of the emotional bond too.
The stories behind why this festival is celebrated?
Before you get ready to buy rakhis online would you not want to learn a little more about the stories related to this festival and trust us, there are plenty:
Mahabharata – There are two stories in Mahabharata that link the festival – in one instance, when Lord Krishna cut his finger while deploying his Sudarshan Chakra to behead Sisupala, it was Draupadi, who came rushing to his rescue. She tore off a piece of her saree and bandaged the finger, in return to which Krishna promised to protect her, whenever she needed it. Similarly, just before the war, it is said that Kunti tied a rakhi to her grandson, Abhimanyu.
Indra – As per Bhavishya Purana, there was once a fierce battle between the gods and the demons. Indra, the kind of gods was finding it tough to hold his own against Bali, a powerful demon king. As it seemed, the war was no where near its end, which is when Indra’s wife, Sachi or Indrani, went to Lord Vishnu, beseeching him for help. Vishnu gave her a bracelet made using holy cotton thread and asked her to tie it on Indra’s wrist to accord him protection. Ancient texts state that a sacred thread was tied not just amongst siblings, but also between spouses, particularly when they were headed to war.
King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi – In Vishnu Purana, there is a story where after winning the three worlds from the demon King Bali, Lord Vishnu, on a request from the demon king, stayed back at his palace. Vishnu’s wife, Lakshmi was getting frustrated by the wait and wanted her husband to return home, to Vaikunth. So, she, disguised as a Brahmin woman went to the demon king and tied a rakhi around the wrist of Bali, making him her brother. When asked what she wanted as a gift, she revealed her true identity and asked for the return of her husband. Bali, respecting the newly forged relationship, freed Lord Vishnu, allowing him to return to Vaikunth.
Yama and Yamuna – Legend has it that the Yamuna tied a rakhi on the wrist of her brother Yama, the god of death and as a gift, he graced her with immortality. However, it did not stop there – he was so touched by her gesture that he proclaimed that any brother, on whose wrist a rakhi was tied, and promised to protect his sister, would also be blessed with immortality.
Santoshi ma – It is said that the two sons of Lord Ganesha, Shubh and Labh, were always sad that they had no sister of their own. When they asked their father for a sister, he did not pay much heed; however, when Narada intervened, he created Santosh from the divine flames. It is said that this creation happened on the full moon of Shravan, which is why Rakshabandhan is celebrated on this day.
Are any other festivals celebrated on the same day?
The day on which Rakshabandhan falls is actually a really auspicious one and several other festivities happen on the same day:
Avani avittam – A day observed by the brahmins of the country, this is the day when they exchange their sacred threads and pray to their ancestors for forgiveness for any and all sins that they might have committed.
Pavitropana – This day is very special to Shiva devotees – a thread from panchgaivya is made and offered to Lord Shiva.
Nariyal Purnima – Celebrated in the coastal parts of western India, this is a celebration of fisherfolk, who offer coconuts to the sea god Varuna, asking him for good sea trade.
Kajri Purnima – This is a celebration mostly in the north and central India, where the farmers pray to goddess Bhagwati, asking her for healthy crops and good health for their sons.
Jain celebration – On this day, Jain priests gift their devotees with sacred threads, that can either be kept in their pooja room or tied on the wrist.
Should you tie a rakhi only to your brother?
What would girls with no brothers do? Or what would men with no sisters do? Rakhi is not a festival only for siblings, it is for every relationship where there is love, respect, and a promise to protect and defend.
Parents: Aren’t your parents your first caregivers and perhaps your biggest defenders? There’s are the shoes that no one can fill, which is why you can use this day to show how much you care for them. Look for some gorgeous home decor items online at eCraftIndia to gift to them, along with the rakhi that you tie.
Grandparents: Every time you got into trouble with your parents, who were the people to protect you and bail you out? Your grandparents were always there for you, whether you needed them or not. So this Rakshabandhan, why not tie a rakhi on the wrists of your grandparents!
Best friends: If there is anyone in the world who get you in the most trouble, but also get you out of the biggest troubles, it has to be your best friend. They are not only your partners in crime but also your secret keepers and your guardians – so it only makes sense that you tie a rakhi to them, as a promise to be with them forever!
Soldiers: Every single day, innumerable soldiers stand guard at our national borders, protecting each and every one of us – it only makes sense that we see them as our brothers because they are literally protecting us. This year, perhaps you could send rakhis to the soldiers who stand guard for us, on our country’s fronts!
What kind of rakhis can you choose from?
These days, the types of rakhis is astounding – if you come to eCraftIndia, you will get to see some of the amazing rakhis. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Zardozi – Made using silver wires, decorative stones, fabrics such as velvet and satin, these are the luxurious types
Meenakari – These are the types of rakhis where you will see traditional motifs such as peacocks or mango pattern and the use of stones
Spiritual – You will be able to find rakhis with spiritual symbols like Om, or images of Ganesha, Krishna, etc, or even ones with rudraksh
Bhai-bhabhi – Why tie a rakhi only to your brother, when you can find Loomba rakhis for your Bhabhi too – most of the times, these will be colour or pattern coordinated
Kids – Why should adults have all the fun – there are plenty of kiddie themed rakhis available now, including Tom and Jerry, Chota Bheem, and Avengers themed ones
And do remember to browse through our incredible collection of gifting options, when you are looking for Raksha Bandhan gifts for sister! After all, when your sister ties you that sacred thread of love, she should get something in return that she too will cherish!