Today, 22nd August, India celebrates Raksha Bandhan.
India is a land of culture and festivals. There are many casts, religions, tribes, and regions in India. Every caste, tribe, and region have their own festivals. Some festivals are celebrated all over India with faith, belief, and hope; the only reason why India is called the land of culture. These festivals are celebrated auspiciously for a long time. Each and every festival has some auspicious significance behind it or the reason why we celebrate festivals. Every festival has some traditional rituals to perform.
Every festival has some mythological meaning or story behind it. Each and every festival brings joy, prosperity, faith, and hope to our hearts. Festival represents Joy of celebrating life together with family and friends. They hold a special place in our hearts and sometimes give meaning to life.
Festivals often serve to fulfill specific communal purposes, especially in regard to commemoration to the gods, goddesses, or saints; they are called patronal festivals. They may also provide entertainment; particularly important to local communities before the advent of mass-produced entertainment. Festivals that focus on cultural or ethnic topics also seek to inform community members of their traditions. The involvement of elders sharing stories and experiences provides a means for unity among families. A number of these festivals are common in most parts of India. However, they may be called by different names in various parts of the country or maybe celebrated in a different fashion.
Among all festivals, there is one festival called ‘Raksha Bandhan'; particularly celebrated by people of India across the world to show the purity between the relation of a brother and a sister. This day sister ties Rakhi or thread on the wrist of their brothers to protect them against evil influences, and pray for their long life and happiness. Sister in return receives a gift, which is a promise that brother will protect their sisters from any harm till their last breath. Within these Rakhis reside sacred feelings and well wishes for her brother. This is the only festival celebrated across India for brother and sister to show the beauty and fragility of this relation.
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the full-moon day of the Hindu month of Sravana (July/August), this festival celebrates the love of a brother for his sister. This festival is mostly celebrated in North India.
History of Rakhi
The history of Rakhi can be seen from the times of Mahabharata, the epic from Hindu mythology. Hence this festival has auspicious history from the time when Lord Krishna was here physically present on earth. The story starts with Shrut Devi. She gave birth to Shishupal. He was a sick, deform child by birth. Shrut Devi was always concerned about her child. She came to know that he'd be killed by the same person whose touch would bring him back to normality.
One fine day Lord Krishna visited his aunt Shrut Devi. Shrut Devi placed her son in the hands of Krishna. The child turned to normal. Though his aunt was happy to look at her kid; she was sad to know that his death would be in the hands of Krishna. She pleaded with Krishna to pardon her child, even in the situation where he should be punished. Krishna was moved with her pleading. He said that he will excuse him for his misdeeds, but he shall certainly punish him if he crossed the mark of 100 mistakes.
After many years Shishupal became king of Chedi. He was never merciful to the people of his Kingdom. Shishupal always punished people even without any mistakes. He once started to abuse Krishna before the whole kingdom. That was it. On that day Shishupal crossed his limit of 100 mistakes, and so did the patience of Sri Krishna.
As Krishna threw his Sudarshan Chakra at him, his finger got cut in the course. Everyone around Krishna ran to bring something to tie around the wound. Only Draupadi, who was standing there, did not hesitate. She immediately tore a piece from her saree and wrapped it around the wound of Krishna's finger. Krishna said thank you his dear sister. Lord Krishna vowed to help her whenever she needed. Krishna said to her, “I will do your Raksha whenever you needed”. Rakhsha means “protection”.
This incident led to the ritual Raksha Bandhan. Krishna indeed kept his word and saved Draupadi when Kauravas tried to insult her in a full assembly by dragging her saree. That was a blissful and magical incident. Lord Krishna kept his word and provided Draupadi with complete safety. This is the history of Raksha Bandhan. This is a pure festival to celebrate the relation between brother and sister.
The festival of Raksha Bandhan symbolizes the ideal of universal brotherhood. It also immortalizes the Indian culture. The festival of Rakhi transcends the barriers of caste, creed, and religion and is based on pious sentiments. In conclusion, Raksha Bandhan is one of the most enjoyable festivals. It strengthens the bond between a brother and sister. Nowadays, even sisters who do not have brothers celebrate Raksha Bandhan with their sisters and cousins. The essence of the festival remains the same nonetheless.
Some interesting facts about Indian Festivals
The Rich and vibrant festivals of India are evidence that India has diverse traditions and cultures. Festivals in India revolve around the Lord's birth, traditional myths, seasonal changes, celebrating relationships, celebrating nature, love, prosperity, and much more. Festivals are celebrated irrespective of religion or caste in India.
Since childhood, Indian parents started teaching their children about the traditional practices, prayers, and how to celebrate each festival. Indian parents narrate every story associated with the festival, thins brings enthusiasm and joy to children as well. Celebration is a great way to understand the rich heritage we inherit from our elders. Festivals are the celebration of the spirit we are gifted with.
Apoorva is a Data Analyst by profession, Data Enthusiast, and likes to work and analyze data. She is a published poet, writer, painter, art, and music lover. It's her belief that life is a series of tiny miracles and we just need to notice them, we just need to enjoy the ‘life' ride patiently. She likes to chant Vedas and loves reading books in several genres.