For many years sisters, cousin sisters and friends like family have been tying those they consider to be a brother with a colourful thread as a form of protection and in return receive a gift. Have you wondered where this tradition came from?
The significance of the Hindu festival Raksha Bandan
It is said that the tradition of Raksha Bandan came from a story in the Mahabharat. Once Lord Krishna cut his finger, upon noticing this Princess Draupadi tore a piece of her sari and rushed to tie his finger to stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna apprciated this genuine gesture of love and care and in return promised to protect her always.
Princess Draupadi came to Lord Krishnas aid with such love and purity and that is how sisters are considered - always looking for the best interests of their brother. Raksha means safety and Bandhan means bond. This annual Hindu festival celebrates that special bond between brothers and sisters.
On the day of Raksha Bandan which usually falls in August we therefore not only tie a colourful thread on our brothers but with it offer our blessings of good health and protection. The thread can be tied in any location but in our family we like to do it in the mandir to remind us of the deeper significance and beforehand I offer my rakhis in our temple so that they are also blessed by God.
How to celebrate Raksha Bandan
1) On a nice tray lay out the rakhis/rakris with some chandana and your brothers favourite treats.
2) Anoint chandan to your brothers forehead or on his hand if he prefers
3) Tie the rakhi/rakri on your brothers right hand while saying a mantra or thinking of them being protected. I usually do a double knot and then a bow so that it stays on and luckily my brothers keep the rakhis on until they fall off!
4) Feed them something sweet and tell them what you wish for them. After all, any celebration is incomplete without something sweet :).
The brothers in return to show their love, appreciation and protection gift the sisters with token cash or a present. Then have fun together, enjoy the quality time and take some photos.
A nice Raksha Bandan wish for your brothers is:
Like an invisible thread
Our love binds us together
Making sure we'll remember
Where we came from and
What we mean to each other
Wishing you a Happy Raksha Bandhan!