Raksha Bandhan: History, Significance, Celebration & More
Five different theories surround the origin of the festival of Rakshabandhan. How did it originate? Read on.
Raksha Bandhan, is a Hindu festival celebrated annually on the full moon day, in the month of shravan (Saawan) according to the Hindu calendar. But, how did this tradition come into existence? There are a few popular theories revolving around that, let’s have a look at the history of Rakshabandhan and the sacred thread brothers and sisters tie on each other’s wrist.
In this article, we will also discuss the rituals and traditional food we gorge on during the festival.
Raksha Bandhan (रक्षाबन्धन) or Rakhi is an Indian festival that celebrates the bond between a brother and sister. Traditionally, Rakhi (राखी) is tied by the sister on the brother’s wrist. In return, the brother promises to protect the sister and take care of her for the rest of their lives.
Even though women no longer need a ‘savior’, and can fend for themselves, following this tradition with your own modern take doesn’t hurt anyone. Not only men and boys, but you can now spot women sporting some beautiful rakhis too. It is indeed a very special day for brothers and sisters.
Raksha Bandhan 2022: Date and Tithi
Raksha Bandhan will be celebrated on 11 August 2022. The auspicious hours (muhurat) are between 6:15 am and 5:30 pm.
Raksha Bandhan Festival – Origin & History
There are five popular theories around the origin and history of the festival of Rakshabandhan and as to why sisters tie rakhi on their brothers’ hands. –
1. Lord Krishna And Draupadi
According to Hindu mythology, when Lord Vishnu came to the mortal world in his Krishna avatar, he killed the evil king Shishupal for the protection of dharma. In the battle, Lord Krishna hurt his finger with his sudarshan chakra. Seeing the bleeding finger, Draupadi came to him and couldn’t bear the sight. She immediately tore a piece from her saree and tied it on Lord Krishna’s finger to stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna pledged to show gratitude in the future. This debt was repaid later when Lord Krishna protected Draupadi as the Kauravas tried to disgrace her by removing her saree.
2. Rani Karnawati and Emperor Humayun
After the death of her husband Rana Sangha, Queen Karnawati of Chittorgarh wanted to protect her kingdom from the invaders. With the siege already in place, Rani Karnawati sent a letter along with a Rakhi to ask for protection from emperor Humayun. Even though Humayun was engaged in an expedition elsewhere, after reading the queen’s letter, he diverted his troops to Mewar to help the Rani.
3. King Bali and Goddess Laxmi
Another popular theory is that of Bali and Goddess Laxmi (Lakshmi). Asur King Bali was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu and was granted the protection of his kingdom from Lord Vishnu himself. Lord Vishnu disguised himself as a doorman to fulfill the need. Back home, Goddess Laxmi was missing Lord Vishnu and entered the castle disguised as a Brahmin woman. On the full moon day of Shravana, Goddess Lakshmi tied a rakhi on Bali’s wrist. When Bali asked her to demand a gift, she simply pointed at the doorman. Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu revealed their true identities and keeping the promise intact, Bali requested Lord Vishnu to return home with goddess Lakshmi.
4. Rabindranath Tagore
In 1905, during the partition of Bengal, to promote harmony between communities, Rabindranath Tagore started ‘Rakhi Mahautsavs’. Women for different communities were asked to tie a rakhi to men from other communities to promote harmony in the state. He also urged them to protest against the British. Till today, people tie rakhi, not only to their own brothers but to close friends and neighbors too.
5. King Puru And Alexander The Great
Legend has it that Indian King Puru (Porous) intimidated the Great Alexander during the invasion. Roxana, the wife of Alexander The Great, sent a rakhi to King Puru (Porous) and pleaded with him to not harm Alexander on the battlefield.
This Raksha Bandhan, surprise your sister with these gifts under 500.
Significance of Raksha Bandhan
- To celebrate the bond between a brother and sister.
- Siblings and cousins who live in different cities get together to celebrate the special day.
- A day when we are reminded of our special bond with our siblings, cousins, and friends – the symbolic thread and its ‘knots’ are reminders of the love and affection we share.
How to Celebrate Raksha Bandhan?
Here are some rituals that are associated with this festival –
- Indian festivals lay a lot of emphasis on having a bath before any ritual and puja.
- Prep up the puja thali with a tikka, some raw rice, the rakhi you bought, and a diya for the aarti.
- Do not forget some sweets which your sibling loves. A simple mishri or gud can suffice as well.
- A lot of people fast until the rakhi has been tied. They break the fast by feeding each other sweets.
2. The Ceremony
The sister first does aarti and puts a tikka on the forehead followed by some uncooked rice (roli-chawal). She then ties a rakhi on the wrist. They feed each other sweets and exchange gifts.
Followed by this is a table full of delicious treats.
Here are some of the traditional sweets and savories commonly made for the festival of rakhi.
Aloo Puri is a statement dish on the day of rakhi and enjoyed immensely by the family. Hot puffed up puris and a zesty aloo curry with achaar on the side spells perfection.
Malpuas and the month of saawan are synonymous with each other. Malpuas are Indian pancake-like desserts that are soaked in delicious fennel-infused sugar syrup. Yum!
3. Boondi Laddoo
Laddoos and Indian festivals are a match made in heaven. A thali is incomplete without a gorgeously soft and orange boondi laddoo.
A classic aloo samosa never disappoints, does it? Simple to make at home, if you wish, you can swap the aloo with some other innovative filling too.
Aloo, hari mirch, paneer, mushrooms, baby corn, brinjal, gobhi, and bread can all be turned into a plateful of crunchy pakodas.
A festive-staple, kheer is a must on any special occasion. Be it the classic rice kheer, sabudana kheer, makhana kheer, or a healthy apple kheer, a chilled bowl is a must on the table.
Best things to gift your sister on the Raksha Bandhan.
The bond between a brother and sister is unbreakable and is associated with years of laughter and annoying habits. You will call them by 10 insulting names every day, yet if someone else dares to do so, you are ready to take them down in 10 seconds. That is what defines a relationship between siblings. No matter how annoying you find them, love is irreplaceable.
So go and celebrate raksha bandhan with full vigor and love. Wishing you and your sibling a very warm festive season!
Festival Hampers? Try this DIY festival hampers gifts for friends and family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some interesting FAQs on Raksha Bandhan.
1. How did Raksha Bandhan begin?
Five theories revolve around the origin or Raksha Bandhan.
- One is centered around Lord Krishna and Draupadi.
- The legend of King Bali and Goddess Laxmi.
- Some also say that the festival originated when Rani Karnawati asked Emperor Humayun for help.
- Rabindranath Tagore and his aim to promote harmony within the citizens.
- King Puru, Alexander The Great, and Roxana.
2. When will Raksha Bandhan be celebrated in 2022?
As per the Hindu calendar, Raksha Bandhan will be celebrated on August 11st, 2022. It falls on a Thrusday.
3. Which parts of India celebrate Raksha Bandhan?
Raksha Bandhan is a festival centric to the Northern and Western regions of India.
4. When should Rakhi be removed?
There is no specific rule about the timing of when the rakhi should be removed. Brothers can wear it as long as they want or can remove it on the same day. Every household has different traditions and customs which they follow, so this aspect can change accordingly.