Updated: August 26, 2018 2:35:22 pm
Raksha Bandhan 2018: Raksha Bandhan is that time of the year when siblings, especially brothers and sisters, celebrate the bond of compassion and trust. Traditionally, it includes the ritual of a sister tying a sacred thread or a knot around her brother’s wrist, symbolically expressing her love for him and seeking his protection in return. This year, the festival of Raksha Bandhan will be celebrated on August 26, which falls on a Sunday.
Observed not only in the Northern belt of India, Raksha Bandhan is also celebrated across the North western parts of the subcontinent and Nepal with great fervour.
Even if the exact origin of this festival is unknown, mythology is replete with stories that talk about this festival. One such story points out the bond of trust between King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi. After being defeated thrice, King Bali in what was a boon to Vishnu, confined him in his house. Lakshmi, in order to get her husband back, tied a thread around King Bali’s wrist and in return, asked him for a token to mark this bond of compassion and faith. King Bali couldn’t refuse and had to send Lord Vishnu to her.
As another story goes, one fine morning, when Lord Krishna was flying a kite, he cut his finger on the string of the kite. Draupadi, on seeing blood coming out of his finger, ran to him, tore a piece of cloth from her sari and tied it on his bleeding finger. Lord Krishna was so touched by this that he promised to protect her from all evil, forever, in return. And as is known, he did protect her when the Kauravas tried to abuse her.
Often believed to be a festival exclusive to the Hindu community, it generally is not the case. The festival of Raksha Bandhan is quite secular and an inclusive one.
There is an interesting story surrounding Emperor Humayun and Rani Karnavati of Mewar. When Mewar was attacked by Bahadur Shah Zafar twice, in the mid 16th century, Rani Karnavati sent out a letter alongwith a rakhi (thread) in it to Humayun and sought his protection in return. The emperor was so touched by this gesture that he immediately dropped the military campaign.
The significance of the festival lies in its expression of love. As the years have passed by, the festival has evolved in its sense and expression. From tribals and environmental groups tying rakhis around trees to protect them, to people tying it on their pets, and people of different faiths tying it on each other to send out a message of tolerance to the community, the festival of Raksha Bandhan has progressed into a celebration of togetherness and companionship.
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