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Guide to Raksha Bandhan

Jul 24, 2023

Tradition

There’s nothing like the bond between siblings — those relationships are important and unique in every culture across the globe. That’s why there have been incredible stories written about the connection that a brother has to his sister and vice versa. The festival of Raksha Bandhan is a ceremony in Hinduism that’s deeply rooted in tradition and protection, and is a sacred holiday to the entire family.

What is Raksha Bandhan?

Translated in Sanskrit as “the tie or knot of protection,” Raksha Bandhan is a festival that symbolizes the eternal love of brother-sister relationships (which are not exclusive to only blood relations). It’s also referred to as Rakhi, Nariyal Purnima, or Kajari Purnima, and is celebrated differently depending on the state or region. During the festival, tradition is that the sister will tie a rakhi bracelet around the wrist of her brother to pray for his health and wellbeing, while the brother offers gifts and promises to protect her in return.

When is Rakhi?

Rakhi is celebrated on the full moon day (or Purnima day) in the Hindu calendar month of Shraven, which falls on August 30th this year, 2023, and on August 19th next year, 2024.

Origins of Raksha Bandhan

Similar to Holi (and many other holidays across various cultures), there are several different origin stories of how Rakhi began.

One tale is from the Indian epic poem The Mahabharata. The main story revolves around two branches of family – the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Cousins who, in the Kurukshetra War, battled for the throne of Hastinapura. The epic is divided into 18 sections, making it the longest poem in the world’s history. Within this story, Lord Krishna cuts his finger, and Draupadi, his cousin-in-law, sees the incident and tears a strip from her saree to bind the wound. Krishna promises to return the favor to her if she ever needs it. Several years later, men try to undress Draupadi in public, by unraveling her saree. Krishna sees it and uses his magic to make Draupadi’s saree never-ending to prevent her from having to undress in front of everyone.

Others believe that Raksha Bandhan comes from the story of King Bali and the Goddess Lakshmi. In the Bhagavat Puran and Vishnu Puran, after Vishnu conquers the three worlds from King Bali, King Bali asks Vishnu to live in his palace. Goddess Lakshmi, Vishnu’s wife, is not happy about this arrangement so she ties a rakhi on King Bali, making him a brother. In return, King Bali grants her a wish, and she requests that Vishnu return home.

The story of Lord Indra is another origin story of this holiday. In the Bhavishya Puran scripture, Sachi, the wife of Indra, ties a thread around his wrist to protect him in battle against the powerful King Bali. This story suggests that holy threads may have served as amulets in ancient India, used mainly by women to protect men going to war, and not just limited to brother-sister relationships.

How is Raksha Bandhan celebrated?

Before the coming of Raksha Bandhan, sisters begin buying rakhis for their brother from the market – usually in the form of colorful threads, often red or gold. On the actual day of Raksha Bandhan, brothers and sisters wear new clothes and typically celebrate in the presence of their parents, elders, and grandparents. The sisters tie the rakhi around their brothers’ wrists, perform prayers for the well-being of their brother, and apply a ‘tilak’ (a mark typically made by a red powder) on the forehead of their brothers.

Happy Rakhi wishes & messages

Raksha Bandhan symbolizes the bond of love, care, and respect. Expressing wishes of ‘Happy Rakhi’ is a popular way of showing appreciation for those in your life – here are a few inspirational messages to send to loved ones.

  • Wishes for your brother: ‘I pray for your happiness, prosperity, and long life. Sending loads of love and best wishes. Happy Raksha Bandhan.’
  • Wishes for your sister: ‘The most amazing thing about having a sister is like having a best friend in life. Thank you for always being there for me. Happy Rakhi!’
  • Wishes for loved ones: ‘In every phase of my life, you have always supported and loved me. This Raksha Bandhan, I promise to do the same for you and will always stand by your side no matter what. Happy Raksha Bandhan!’
  • Wishes for your friends: ‘We must not limit the celebrations of Raksha Bandhan just to brothers and sisters but extend them to all the relationships which protect us and believe in us….. Though we are friends but we are bonded stronger than families and therefore, I wish you a very Happy Rakhi.’
  • Wishes for your family: ‘On the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, I am sending my warm wishes to my loving family because you have always been there to keep me protected from the bad times and challenges and give me strength…. Happy Rakhi to you.’
Gifts for others on Rakhi

After the rakhi is tied around the brother’s wrist, it’s his turn to offer a gift in return. This gift can be in the form of money, jewelry, a dress, chocolate, flowers, skin care items, or anything else he knows his sister would enjoy.

Celebrate Ayurvedic traditions & beauty

Traditions are an extremely sacred practice in every culture, and it’s important to celebrate them. We were founded on the idea of practicing the holistic rituals and traditions of Ayurvedic beauty. We’re passionate about incorporating those customs into our products and wellness rituals – learn more about them here.

 

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