Raksha Bandhan, often referred to as Rakhi, is a significant Hindu festival celebrated in India and some other parts of South Asia. The festival is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravana, which usually falls in August. This year it is on 30th August.
The term "Raksha Bandhan" translates to "the bond of protection" or "the knot of protection." It symbolises the special bond between brothers and sisters. On this day, sisters tie a decorative thread known as "rakhi" around their brothers' wrists as a symbol of their love, affection, and protection. In return, brothers promise to protect their sisters and give them gifts or money as a token of their appreciation.
The Rakhi thread can be simple or ornate, and it represents the sacred bond between siblings. It is not limited to biological brothers and sisters; cousins and close friends often exchange rakhis to celebrate their bond as well.
The festival also involves various rituals and customs. Families come together, perform prayers, and offer sweets as part of the celebration. The festival promotes love, harmony, and unity among family members and reinforces the importance of sibling relationships.
Raksha Bandhan has cultural and historical significance too. In ancient times, it was a way for women to seek protection from brothers and, in some cases, even from kings and warriors. The festival also holds religious significance as it reflects the Hindu concept of duty, responsibility, and protection.
Over the years the practices around Raksha bandan have changed to signify love and the bond of protection beyond just brothers and sisters. It is common to find sisters tying rakhi on each other as the concept behind the love shared between family members extends itself to other siblings and family members.