What is Raksha Bandhan and why should we be celebrating it?
Raksha Bandhan is a festival that celebrates the special bond between brothers and sisters. It is a day when siblings pray for one another's well being and wish for their happiness and well being. In many parts of India it is known as Rakhi Purnima, or simply Rakhi and its origins date back thousands of years. Although predominantly a Hindu festival, it is also observed by Jains and many Sikhs in many Indian communities across the world.
The festival falls on the full moon day (Shravan Poornima) of the Shravan month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar. This year (2017) it falls on Monday 7th August.
The word Raksha means protection while Bandhan means to tie - which basically translates to a 'bond of protection'. Over time the festival has grown to celebrate the bond between brothers and sisters but also between men and women who are relatives or biologically unrelated.
Traditionally on this auspicious day, sisters tie a Rakhi (a sacred thread) on the wrist of their brothers, while the brothers make a promise to protect their sisters - and all siblings pray for each others well being. Usually, brothers give their sisters a gift to mark the occasion.
A Rakhi may be a simple thread, woven and colourful; or a Rakhi may be intricate with amulets and decoration on top of it. Often, a Rakhi may be a fancy wrist watch or men's wrist accessory in the form of a bracelet or jewellery.
Typically the brother(s) also shop for gifts for their sister, ahead of Raksha Bandhan. These gifts from the brother can be anything from a simple thoughtful token of love - like a pair of earrings or a pendant.
Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India - http://www.raksha-bandhan.com/
Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raksha_Bandhan
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