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Rakshabandhan, The Festival of love and protection- Know its History, Day of celebration, Different Names, Greetings
Why /How the celebration of Rakshabandhan Started (History)
Rakshabandhan, a festival that epitomizes the bond between siblings, has deep historical roots that date back centuries in the annals of Indian history.
This joyous occasion holds a special place in the hearts of millions, and its evolution through time reflects the dynamic cultural fabric of India.
The origins of Rakshabandhan can be traced back to ancient times, as early as the Vedic period. The festival finds its roots in the rituals and customs that were prevalent during this era. Historians believe that during Vedic times, the ritual of tying a sacred thread symbolized the bond between a devotee and their deity, seeking divine protection and blessings. This thread-tying tradition gradually evolved to encompass familial relationships and gained prominence as the Rakshabandhan we know today.
King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi
Mahabali, the demon king was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu. Due to his immense devotion, Lord Vishnu took the responsibility to protect Bali’s Kingdom leaving his normal dwelling place in Vikundam. The wife of Lord Vishnu i.e. Goddess Lakshmi became very sad. She wanted to stay with her husband Lord Vishnu. So she went to King Bali in disguise of as a Brahmin woman and taken refuge in his castle. She tied Rakhi on King Bali’s wrist on the full moon day called Shravana Purnima. Later Goddess Lakshmi revealed who she was actually and why she had come. The king was moved by her and Lord Vishnu’s good will and affection for him & his family. Bali requested Lord Vishnu to accompany his wife to Vaikuntam. It is believed that since that day onwards it has become a custom to invite one’s sister on Shravana Purnima to tie auspicious thread of Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan.
During Raksha Bandhan, a heartwarming tale unfolds in the divine realm of Lord Ganesh. His sister, Devi Manasa, pays a visit, tying a sacred Rakhi on his wrist, symbolizing their sibling bond. Witnessing this beautiful tradition, Ganesh’s sons, Shubh and Labh, are enchanted but saddened by the absence of a sister. Eager to partake in the Raksha Bandhan celebration, they earnestly request their father for a sister. After much persuasion, Ganesh grants their wish, and Santoshi Maa is born. From that moment on, the three siblings joyfully celebrate Raksha Bandhan together each passing year, strengthening their eternal bond of love and protection.
Draupadi and Lord Krishna
One of the most celebrated legends associated with Rakshabandhan is the story of Draupadi and Lord Krishna from the Mahabharata. According to this popular myth, Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, tied a rakhi on Krishna’s wrist, symbolizing her deep love and trust in him. In return, Krishna pledged to protect her from any harm, which he fulfilled during her time of distress. This tale reinforces the significance of the festival, emphasizing the essence of protection, love, and care.
Throughout Indian history, there are various references to Rakshabandhan, albeit under different names and forms.
In the medieval era, it was customary for kings and queens to send rakhis to neighboring rulers, signifying a bond of friendship and protection. This practice served as a diplomatic gesture to foster peaceful relations between kingdoms and to ensure mutual security during times of conflict.
The Influence of Rani Karnavati:
A pivotal moment in Rakshabandhan’s historical journey can be attributed to the valiant Rajput queen, Rani Karnavati of Chittorgarh. In the late 16th century, faced with an impending attack from the Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah, Rani Karnavati sent a rakhi to the Mughal court, seeking help from Emperor Humayun. Touched by her gesture, Humayun immediately responded to her call and marched to Chittorgarh to protect her kingdom. Though he arrived too late, his act of chivalry resonated across the land, further popularizing Rakshabandhan as a symbol of protection and solidarity.
One of the oldest references to the History of Rakhi festival goes back to 300 B.C. during the time when India was invaded by Alexander. It is believed that the great conqueror, King Alexander of Macedonia was wavered by experiencing the fury of the Indian King Puru in his first attempt of defense. On seeing her’s husband plight, Alexander’s wife, who had been aware of Rakhi festival, approached King Puru. King Puru accepted her as his Rakhi sister and he refrained from war against Alexander.
As India progressed through different historical periods, Rakshabandhan continued to evolve, adapting to changing cultural, social, and technological landscapes.
In the modern era, the festival has become more inclusive, with people from diverse backgrounds embracing the tradition of tying rakhis to express love and affection, regardless of biological relationships.
Date of celebration ( when)
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the full moon day, also known as Purnima, of the Hindu month of Shravana. There are several reasons for this specific timing of the festival:
- Mythological Significance: According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Krishna’s consort, Draupadi, tied a sacred thread (Rakhi) on his wrist to protect him during a battle. Impressed by her gesture, Lord Krishna vowed to protect her as well. This event is said to have taken place on the full moon day in the month of Shravana.
- Auspicious Time: Purnima, or the full moon day, is considered an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar. It holds significance in various rituals and celebrations, including Raksha Bandhan.
- Seasonal Connection: The festival falls during the monsoon season in India when the rain brings life to the earth, and the greenery is at its peak. This natural abundance and fertility add to the joyous atmosphere of the festival.
- Lunar Influence: The Hindu calendar is based on the lunar cycle, and many festivals are observed in accordance with the phases of the moon. Raksha Bandhan being celebrated on a Purnima is part of this lunar tradition.
Overall, the combination of mythological, cultural, and astronomical factors contributes to the celebration of Raksha Bandhan on the full moon day in the month of Shravana.
As Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the full moon day, also known as Purnima, of the Hindu month of Shravana, so date varies accordingly for Georgian calendar:
2023: 30th August
2024: 19th August
2025: 9th August
Rakshabandhan is a national holiday celebrated in India.
Different Names in different parts of our Country India
Rakshabandhan, also known as Rakhi, is a popular festival celebrated in different parts of India with various names:
- In North India: Rakshabandhan or Rakhi
- In West Bengal and Odisha: Jhulan Purnima
- In Maharashtra: Narali Purnima or Shravani Purnima
- In Nepal: Janai Purnima or Rakshya Bandhan
- In Gujarat: Pavitropana or Purnima
- In Punjab: Rakhri or Rakhree
- In Tamil Nadu: Avani Avittam or Upakarma
- In Karnataka: Upakarma
- In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: Upakarma or Avani Avittam
- In Kerala: Avani Avittam or Upakarma
How it’s celebrated ( Preparation & Process of celebration)
Preparation & Process of Celebrating Raksha Bandhan:
- Shopping for Rakhi: Sisters buy colorful and decorative Rakhis to tie on their brothers’ wrists as a symbol of protection and love.
- Buying Gifts: Brothers choose thoughtful gifts for their sisters as a token of appreciation and love.
- Sweets and Treats: Families prepare or buy traditional sweets and snacks to share during the celebration.
- Traditional Attire: Everyone dresses up in traditional outfits to mark the occasion.
Process of Celebration:
- The Ritual: On the day of Raksha Bandhan, siblings gather together. The sister prepares a thali with a Rakhi, sweets, and a diya (oil lamp).
- Aarti: Before tying the Rakhi, the sister performs aarti (a ceremonial prayer) to seek blessings for her brother’s well-being.
- Tying the Rakhi: The sister ties the Rakhi on her brother’s wrist while chanting prayers and applying a tikka (a red mark) on his forehead.
- Brother’s Pledge: The brother pledges to protect and support his sister throughout her life, and he gives her the chosen gift.
- Sweet Exchange: Both siblings exchange sweets and treats to sweeten their bond.
- Family Gathering: The celebration often involves a family gathering, with relatives coming together to enjoy the festivities and exchange good wishes
Greetings of Rakshabandhan
- Dear Brother, on Raksha Bandhan, I tie this Rakhi with love and prayers for your happiness and success. Always know that I am here for you, no matter what. Happy Raksha Bandhan!
- To the best brother in the world, thank you for always being my protector and confidant. May this Rakhi bring you joy, prosperity, and endless blessings. Happy Raksha Bandhan!
- Wishing my dearest brother a Raksha Bandhan filled with love, laughter, and cherished memories. You are not just my brother but also my best friend. Love you always!
- On this special day, I want to remind you of the bond we share, which is truly irreplaceable. Happy Raksha Bandhan, dear brother! You mean the world to me.
- As we celebrate Raksha Bandhan, I want to express how grateful I am to have you as my brother. You have always been my pillar of strength. May our bond grow stronger with each passing day. Happy Rakhi!
- Dear brother, you are my superhero, and this Raksha Bandhan, I wish you all the strength and courage to conquer your dreams. I believe in you, and I’ll always have your back. Happy Rakhi!
- My dear brother, may the thread of Rakhi always protect you from all hardships and bring you peace and prosperity. Have a wonderful Raksha Bandhan!
- Raksha Bandhan is not just a thread; it’s a symbol of the love and bond we share. Sending you my heartfelt wishes for a joyful and blissful celebration. Happy Rakhi, bro!
- Dear brother, you are my first friend, and our connection is beyond words. Thank you for being the best brother anyone could ask for. Happy Raksha Bandhan!
- On this auspicious day of Raksha Bandhan, I want to remind you that you are loved and cherished more than words can express. May you always find success and happiness in all you do. Happy Rakhi!
- My dearest sister, on Raksha Bandhan, I promise to always be there for you, just as you have been my rock. Sending you love, hugs, and the best wishes for a beautiful Rakhi!
- To my loving sister, you are not just my sibling but also my best friend and confidante. Thank you for always being by my side. Happy Raksha Bandhan!
- Dear Sister, as we celebrate Raksha Bandhan, I want you to know that you are the reason for my smiles and the strength in my soul. I love you dearly. Happy Rakhi!
- On this special occasion, I want to let you know that you are the most precious gift in my life. Your love and care mean the world to me. Happy Raksha Bandhan, sis!
- Sisters are like stars that guide us through the darkest nights. Thank you for being my guiding light and always supporting me. Wishing you a happy and joyous Rakhi!
- My dear sister, you are my constant source of inspiration and joy. May this Raksha Bandhan bring you boundless happiness and blessings. Happy Rakhi!
- Sisters are a precious treasure, and I’m grateful to have you as mine. On this Raksha Bandhan, I pray for your happiness and success in all endeavors. Happy Rakhi, sis!
- To my lovely sister, you are the epitome of love and care. Let’s cherish this beautiful bond as we celebrate Raksha Bandhan together. Happy Rakhi!
- Dear sis, as we tie the Rakhi, let’s renew our promise to be each other’s pillars of support, always and forever. Wishing you a delightful and blessed Raksha Bandhan!
- On Raksha Bandhan, I want to thank you for all the love and happiness you bring into my life. You are truly a blessing, and I love you more than words can express. Happy Rakhi, sister!
Bollywood Hindi movies based on Rakshabandhan festival
- “Rakhi” (1962) Year of Release: 1962 Director: A. Bhimsingh Brief Story: “Rakhi” is a heartwarming tale of a selfless sister, played by Waheeda Rehman, who sacrifices her love and happiness for her brother’s well-being. The film beautifully portrays the significance of Raksha Bandhan and the unconditional bond between siblings.
- “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” (1971) Year of Release: 1971 Director: Dev Anand Brief Story: “Hare Rama Hare Krishna” follows the journey of siblings, Prashant and Jasbir, separated during their childhood. As they reunite years later, the film highlights the impact of Raksha Bandhan on their lives and the emotional connection they share despite their differences.
- “Chhoti Bahen” (1959) Year of Release: 1959 Director: L.V. Prasad Brief Story: “Chhoti Bahen” revolves around the selfless love of a younger sister, played by Nanda, who faces various challenges to protect her elder brother’s happiness. The film beautifully showcases the bond between siblings and the significance of Raksha Bandhan.
- “Bandhan” (1998) Year of Release: 1998 Director: K. Muralimohana Rao Brief Story: “Bandhan” narrates the story of a devoted brother, played by Salman Khan, who stands by his sister through thick and thin. The film explores the essence of Raksha Bandhan and portrays the unbreakable bond between siblings.
- “Brothers” (2015) Year of Release: 2015 Director: Karan Malhotra Brief Story: “Brothers” is an action-packed drama that revolves around two estranged brothers, played by Akshay Kumar and Sidharth Malhotra, who reconnect through the sport of mixed martial arts. The film portrays their journey of reconciliation and love, emphasizing the significance of Raksha Bandhan.
- “Iqbal” (2005) Year of Release: 2005 Director: Nagesh Kukunoor Brief Story: “Iqbal” is an inspiring story of a mute and deaf boy, Iqbal, who dreams of becoming a cricketer. His sister, played by Shweta Prasad, plays a pivotal role in supporting his aspirations, and the film showcases the power of sibling love and the festival of Raksha Bandhan.
- “Rakht Charitra” (2010) Year of Release: 2010 Director: Ram Gopal Varma Brief Story: “Rakht Charitra” is a biographical crime drama based on real-life incidents. The film portrays the intense bond between the protagonist and his sister, and how the festival of Raksha Bandhan influences their actions and decisions.
- “Aanchal” (1980) Year of Release: 1980 Director: Anil Ganguly Brief Story: “Aanchal” revolves around the life of a loving brother, played by Rajesh Khanna, who dedicates himself to his sisters’ happiness and well-being. The film beautifully captures the essence of Raksha Bandhan and sibling love.
- “Baghban” (2003) Year of Release: 2003 Director: Ravi Chopra Brief Story: “Baghban” is a family drama that portrays the struggles and sacrifices of an elderly couple, played by Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini, who have been separated from their children. The film touches upon the significance of sibling bonds, including the celebration of Raksha Bandhan.
- “Jeevan Mrityu” (1970) Director: Satyen Bose Brief Story: “Jeevan Mrityu” tells the story of a brother, played by Dharmendra, who sacrifices his love to protect his sister from an unscrupulous suitor. The film highlights the strength of sibling love and the essence of Raksha Bandhan in protecting and caring for family.
- “Raksha Bandhan” (2022) , directed by Aanand L. Rai. Rakshabandhan is a story that celebrates family values, togetherness, love, even sacrifice…but most importantly, it is a story that celebrates one of the most precious and unique kind of familial bond – That between a brother and his sisters!