Raksha Bandhan, a tradition started long ago can be traced back to religious, mythological and historical stories. Whether it was Krishna and Draupadi or Karnavati and Humayun, what Raksha Bandhan stands for has not changed meaning over the ages.
The word Raksha Bandhan in Sanskrit means ‘the tie or knot of protection’. The term signifies the duty siblings have towards each other. Prayers and Aarti’s are held by the families when the tying ceremony takes place.
A simple string known as the ‘Rakhi’ is tied on the brother’s hand by their sister. A sign of love, protection and promise is sealed between siblings. The sister in return bestows a small gift to her brother as a gesture of gratitude and love.
Till today, Rakhsha Bandhan is practiced widely throughout India. Over the years this practice which had a very different meaning in the yester years as protection for the sister during times of war, has evolved. Now, it is practiced as a tradition, a sign of love and a festival of community building and togetherness.
One of India’s great literary minds Rabindranath Tagore, helped evolve the meaning of Raksha Bandhan in modern times. The writer of the Indian anthem had a very different take on the whole festival. He believed and professed that Raksha Bandhan is a practice which brings the community together. It was not only a celebration for the siblings but also one for everyone involved and mankind itself.
It is supposed to be a time where society as a whole builds and uplifts every member of the society together. It is a responsibility for all members. Tracing back the celebration of this festival during the British reign in India, Rabindranath Tagore used Rakash Bandhan as bond building and friendship strengthening activity between Muslims and Hindus. The idea behind this was to think beyond caste, creed, religion, race and unify together as people from the same society and in turn the same country.
Raksha Bandhan seen by people as a way of peace and love, can be a great tool to change social dynamics and improve on the entire standing of the society.
Raksha Bandhan is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan. In different places, Raksha Bandhan has different names such as Kajiri Purnima, Rakhi Purnima, Kajiri Navami, Nariyal Purnima and Shravan Purnima. No matter the name, due to the teachings and direction of Rabindranath Tagore, Raksha Bandhan over time has turned into a community building event. It still holds the bond building belief between siblings but now with the whole community involved, Raksha Bandhan is a widely accepted and anticipated festival in the Indian Culture & also practiced by Indians overseas.
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