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Happy Raksha Bandhan: Date, muhurat, history, celebration of Rakhi

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Guwahati: Raksha Bandhan, the beautiful occasion that honours the deep bond of love between siblings, is being celebrated all over the country today, August 22. The word Raksha Bandhan roughly gets translated to ‘protection’ and ‘bond’. It is one of the biggest festivals celebrated in India as a tribute to the siblings.

‘Rakhi’ symbolises the sacred thread of protection tied on the right wrists of brothers by sisters, traditionally. Dedicated to the wonderful relationship between all brothers and sisters. Raksha Bandhan is an auspicious festival that occurs on a full moon day (Purnima) during the Sawan month, according to Hindu Panchang.

It is a time-honoured ritual of protection, the greatest gift that siblings give each other and celebrates the pure bond that exists between siblings. While “Raksha” literally translates to ‘safety’, “bandhan” means ‘bond’ and the festival of Rakha Bandhan is a celebration of this unbreakable bond that exists between siblings with a promise to always be there to protect and no matter what the circumstances and in an unconditional way that is only integral to siblings.

Date and shubh muhurat:

Since Rakhi is celebrated annually on the full moon in the Hindu month of Shravan, each year there is a particular time that is considered optimal for carrying out the ritual. This year, Auspicious time to tie rakhi begins from 06.15 am and lasts up to 05.31 pm on August 22. It is said that the best time to tie rakhi would be during the ‘Aparahna’ or late afternoon. Aparahna Time Raksha Bandhan Muhurat is from 01:42 pm to 04:18 pm.

History and significance:

As per Hindu mythology, Draupadi had been very gracious and prompt to tear a piece of cloth from her saree and tie it around Lord Krishna’s injured finger when it bled. (In an instance mentioned in Mahabharata, Krishna is said to have suffered an injury in his finger from his ‘sudarshan chakra’, accidentally after the Rajsuya Yagya before building Indraprastha.) Draupadi’s heartwarming action to tend to Krishna’s injury was a selfless act of love and devotion. Overwhelmed by her gesture, Krishna promised to always protect her. 

Another story that is frequently heard is that of Humayun and the widowed Queen Karnavati of Chittor. It was said that when Bahadur Shah attacked Chittor, Karnavati wrote to Humayun seeking protection. She had sent a sacred thread along with the letter to Humayun. The latter made Karnavati’s eldest son the king of Chittor once he reclaimed the city. Humayun did this out of love and gratitude for the deceased sister, Karnavati. Since then, rakshabandhan became a custom or a symbol of gratitude, security, love between siblings.

Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore started a mass Raksha Bandhan festival during the Partition of Bengal (1905), in which he encouraged Hindu and Muslim women to tie a rakhi on men from the other community and make them their brothers. The exercise was designed to counter British efforts to create a divide between Hindus and Muslims.

It is the vow to be there for each other, during dire circumstances, and ensure protection that forms the essence or signifies the Raksha Bandhan. Rakhi is a way to show respect, warmth, affection between siblings. It honours the sanctity of sibling love.

On this occasion, a girl or a woman puts a tilak on her brother’s forehead and ties a rakhi around his wrist in a ritual that reaffirms the bond and support of her brother(s). She receives a gift from her brother(s) and traditionally endows them with a responsibility to care for her.

When a girl/woman ties a rakhi around her brother’s wrist, he promises to protect her from all the problems in life and gives her his blessings. Nowadays, you can finds Rakhi bands of all shapes and sizes from which you can select one that represents your sibling bond the best.

In the modern interpretation of this ritual, the roles can go either way. The attention shifts from the religious aspect to a more playful exchange of gifts and a mutual understanding of peace, at least for a day!

Sometimes rakhis are tied to elder sister if one doesn’t have an older brother, sometimes rakhis are tied to friends and distant relatives especially in the case of single children. No matter how it is carried out, the essence remains the same – the rakhi is tied to someone who has been caring and nurturing towards you and always looking out for you while gender and relations are secondary.

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