Raksha Bandhan is widely celebrated in the country to honour the bond between a brother and sister taking from the name of the festival which translates to the bond of protection. According to the Hindu calendar, the festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the lunar month — Shravana. The day is marked by some rituals, the most popular one being that of tying a rakhi or a sacred thread around the wrist of the brothers by their sisters. The thread implies that it is the duty of the brother to protect the sister and keep up the bond of brotherhood.
The festival is celebrated across the country, religions and culture. The significance of the festival, according to certain beliefs, dates back to several hundred years. The thread, according to Hindu practices, carries certain values with it. A thread is tied by priests as a sign of protection, Brahmins are believed to wear a thread around their chest as a sign of personal protection, even the concept of a mangal sutra or the sacred thread tied to the wife by the husband originates from this belief.
In mythology, Indra, the king of gods, was advised to wear a rakhi so as to protect him from demons or his enemies.
Instances have also been pointed out in history when a thread helped ensure protection from certain destruction.
It is said that during Alexander’s Battle of the Hydaspes, dating back to 326 BC, Alexander’s wife Roxana sent King Porus a sacred thread, urging him not to harm Alexander. Keeping with the tradition, King Porus refrained from attacking Alexander during the battle. He respected the rakhi sent by Roxana.
During Humanyun’s rule, Rani Karnavati of Chittor, who wanted to save her kingdom from Bahadur Shah, sought Humayun’s help by sending him a rakhi. It is believed that Humayun respected the rakhi and sent his troops to fight for Chittor.
Over the years, the festival has evolved, but continues to honour and uphold sanctity of the relationship and bond between brother-sister.