Raksha bandhan is a day to celebrate the one relationship that cannot be defined in a single coining; siblings.
The Shravan Poornima or the full moon day of Sawan, is celebrated as Raksha Bandhan.
The word ‘raksha’ means protection and ‘bandhan’ means bond. This festival is quite literally the celebration of the protective bond of love between a brother and sister. A promise made by the brother to protect his sister.
As a sister ties the thread of sanctity by the name of ‘Rakhi’ on her brother’s wrist, she wishes him the best of health and a long life. In return, the brother takes a vow to be her protector forever. The occasion is commemorated by eating something sweet, as so many Hindu festivals are.
Some sisters fast to honour the tradition and all sisters and brothers dress in their traditional best for the occasion.
Where it comes from:
One of the most revered stories about Rakhi is that Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas, tied a Rakhi on Lord Krishna’s wrist. As mentioned in one version of the Mahabharata, Krishna hurt his finger on the day of Sakranti, while handling sugarcane. As his consort ran about hunting for a remedy for the little accident, Draupadi – who was nearby and observing the scene quietly, tore off a bit of her sari to bandage Krishna’s finger. In return for her kindness, Krishna couldn’t help but promise to protect her.
Another version of this incident states that Krishna injured himself while attacking Shishupala with lighting. Being his loyal devotee, Draupadi rushed to the rescue of her beloved lord. This touched Krishna greatly and he promised to be by Draupadi’s side in her time of need to protect her. He is said to have used the word ‘Akshyam’ meaning ‘unending’.
Consequently, it is said that Draupadi’s sari became ‘endless’ and therefore saving her honour when Cheerharan tried to disgrace her in Dhritarashtra’s court.
It is also believed that the queen of Chittorgarh, Rani Karnavati, sent a Rakhi for Humayun, the Mughal Emperor. She was a widow and felt the need to extend herself so as to protect her self during the invasion led by Bahadur Shah, the Sultan of Gujarat.
Further, around the time of the Bengal partition, Rabindranath Tagore encouraged all women, both Hindu and Muslim, to tie Rakhis on the wrists of men belonging to opposite communities. This idea was meant to be an sign of unity in the fight against the ‘divide and rule’ policy of the British.
Today, we find ourselves trying to virtually connect with the ones we love – to reach out to them beyond the space created by distance, time and a global pandemic. Finding a way to connect with those we love, trust and feel protective over, has never before felt like a greater challenge. The unprecedented nature of Covid-19 has us feeling listless like never before. And so, we try to connect however we can; send rakhis via post, send virtual rakhi greetings and try to be present in the form of presents.
Further, taking into account all aspects of the present climate, the Confederation of All Indian Traders (CAIT) has called for the boycott of all Chinese products this Raksha Bandhan. Their reason for doing this seems two-fold: to celebrate a wholly Hindustani Rakhi by boosting sales of local craftsmen, and to see the loss of Rs, 4000 crore worth of business for Chinese traders. (Business Today, 2020)
The following are the auspicious windows through the day:
Raksha Bandhan Thread Ceremony Time - 09:28 AM to 09:26 PM
Aparahna Time Raksha Bandhan Muhurat - 02:02 PM to 04:38 PM
Pradosh Time Raksha Bandhan Muhurat - 07:13 PM to 09:26 PM
Purnima Tithi Begins - 09:28 PM on Aug 02, 2020
Purnima Tithi Ends - 09:28 PM on Aug 03, 2020
(NDTV Food, 2020)
Wishing everyone a happy, safe and joyous Rakhi this Raksha Bandhan!