Rakshabandhan is one of the most ceremonious and anticipated celebrations of the Hindu calendar, signifying the sacred bond between brother and sister. It has a rich history, rooted deeply in Hindu culture.
“Raksha Bandhan” is Sanskrit for “knot/bond of protection”, and celebrates the love and “dharam” or duty between brothers and sisters. So how did this festival and ceremony really begin?
Many believe that Lord Krishna once cut his finger while handling sugarcane, and while many rushed to his aid, Draupadi, the wife of the 5 Pandava brothers, tore a piece of her sari and immediately bandaged his wound. Indebted by her act, Lord Krishna promised to help her when she needed it most.
Others yet are of the faith that Yamuna (symbolised by the river that flows through our country) once tied a Rakhi to her brother Lord Yama, the god of death. He was deeply stirred by this act and granted her immortality, and went on to bless any brother that protects his sister when she ties him a Rakhi.
This has started a centuries-old tradition of showering beloved sisters with gifts in exchange for their protection and nurturing love. Since ancient times, traditions have now evolved to the gifting of sweets, luxurious jewellery, or other such products that demonstrate how much the sister’s Rakhi and the protection it is symbolic of means to the brother. Hence, it is crucial to express how much your sister (or brother) means to you by gifting them a beautiful bracelet or ring, bejewelled and just as immortal as the bond you both share!
Today, Rakshabandhan stands for much more than the bond between blood relatives. This symbolic ceremony brings together people from all backgrounds, as it is a heartfelt opportunity to demonstrate brotherly or sisterly love. In fact, Lumba or Bhabhi rakhi is just as popular today, where women tie rakhis to their sisters-in-law to celebrate their bond and relationship. Further, it brings together the family, and signifies the sister’s acknowledgement that her brother is eternally bound to his wife in marriage. These rakhis are more slender and appealing, beset with colourful designs, stones and vibrant designs.
While Rakshabandhan was traditionally popular in northern India, it has been important to Hindu culture all across the subcontinent, and is now observed in Western and Central Indian regions as well. Celebrations are diverse across the nation.
Whatever the reason behind celebrating this festival, the essence of Rakshabandhan is in the exchange of gifts! It is the perfect time to get your beloved sister (or brother and bhabhi) an eternal reminder of your undying love and indelible promise to be there for them in their time of need!