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“Raksha Bandhan”, or the ‘bond of protection’ as it literally means, is an Indian festival that celebrates the protective bond between a brother & sister. This bond can transcend the rules of kinship and be upheld not only among siblings, but among friends or acquaintances who share a similar relationship, irrespective of blood connections. Every year, we celebrate this joyous festival among much pomp, ceremonial rites and exchange of gifts. But did you know these fun facts about this festival that’s knocking on your door?

Rakshabandhan between husband & wife

You may be surprised, but Hindu mythology states that when Lord Indra was setting off for a battle with the denoms, his wife Indrani tied a sacred thread on his wrist for protection, on the day of the Shravan Purnima. That is said to be the origin of Raksha Bandhan which later turned into a ritual between brothers & sisters, rathen than husband & wife. But the original day of this sacred thread-tying ritual is still the same – the ‘purnima’ or full moon day of the Sharavan month!

King Porus & his rakhi vow

The oldest instance of Raksha Bandhan dates back to around 300 B.C. when Alexander the Great had invaded India. The Macedonian emperor was faced by the wrath & bravery of Indian King Porus during the battle. It is said that Alexander’s wife approached King Porus and tied him a rakhi, asking him not to harm her husband. The Indian king did accept her as his sister and acknowledged the sacred bond by refraining from harming Alexander the Great even when he had the chance!

Lord Krishna & Draupadi

When Lord Krishna had succeeded in killing the evil king Shishupal, he had been left with a bleeding finger. Draupadi, wife of the Pandavas, had torn a strip of her saree and tied it around Lord’s Krishna’s wrist to stop the bleeding. He accepted it as a gesture of her sisterly love and promised to protect her and repay this debt whenever she needed in the future. Lord Krishna did respect the sacred bond between him & Draupadi, and provided her protection during the infamous game of dice between the Pandavas & the Kauravas.

Rabindranath Tagore’s communal Rakhi

The great Nobel laureate & poet Rabindranath Tagore had used the festival of Raksha Bandhan as an occasion to bring about unity in different communities in the country. During the partition of Bengal in 1905, the great man had urged the Hindus & Muslims to tie Rakhis to each other in order to strengthen communal bonds and unify the people of the nation against the colonial rule of the British!

Unique celebrations

This endearing festival is not only celebrated in India, but also in several other places around the world, including Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, UAE, UK & USA. AN NGO named Hridaya had started celebrating this festival by men tying Rakhis to women, asking for protection from the ‘misuse’ of the Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. In Kuamon, Uttarakhand, men not only get Rakhis tied on their wrist on this auspicious day, but also change their sacred thread or Janau with a new one!

On this Raksha Bandhan, strengthen the bond of love between you and your sister, and choose a gift for her that’s as precious as the smile on her face! After all, there’s no love like a sister’s love, and your vow to keep her happy forever starts NOW!

 

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