Raksha Bandhan – 22nd August 2021
Raksha Bandhan is one of the most important and looked forward to festivals in India. Raksha Bandhan celebrates the bond of love between a brother and a sister. Raksha Bandhan falls on the full moon day of the Shravan Month Shravan Purnima an auspicious day in the Hindu Calendar. This year in 2021 Raksha Bandhan will be celebrated on the 22nd of August.
Why Raksha Bandhan is celebrated?
The word ‘Raksha’ means protection and ‘Bandhan’ means to tie. A sister ties a sacred thread known as Rakhi on her brother’s wrist. She prays for the prosperity and well-being of her brother. In return, the brother promises to protect his sister from any kind of harm and be with her through thick and thin. This ritual is not restricted to only biological brothers and sisters. It celebrates any brotherly-sisterly relations between two people which includes cousins.
Raksha Bandhan History – How Raksha Bandhan started?
Though it is hard to say when exactly this ritual began, there are several instances that go back thousands of years that gave form to the present-day ritual. The first known incident of the tying of a sacred thread goes back to the days of creation when the Devas were busy fighting demons. When Indra Dev was not having much success in staving off the Asuras, His wife Sachi tied a sacred thread given by Lord Vishnu around His wrist. This helped Indra Dev defeat the Asuras and regain Amravati. At that time this ritual was followed by wives also.
Another story from the Bhagavata Purana tells us of the time when Lord Vishnu defeated the powerful Bali and recovered the three worlds. Bali, now defeated, asked Lord Vishnu to stay with him. Lord Vishnu accepted, but Mata Lakshmi longed to return to Vaikunth. She tied a cotton thread (Rakhi) around Bali’s wrist and made him Her brother. Bali then asked Mata Lakshmi what she wanted. Mata Lakshmi asked Bali to release Lord Vishnu from His promise and allow Him to return to Vaikunth. Bali agreed and Lord Vishnu returned to Vaikunth.
Coming to the Dwapara Yuga, we find mention of this ritual during the days of the Mahabharata. Draupadi had tied a thread around Lord Krishna’s wrist. How she was protected is known by all.
Another story tells us of how Lord Ganesh created Santoshi Mata. His two sons – Shubh and Labh wanted a sister and Lord Ganesh created the Goddess who tied a Rakhi on their wrists.
Significance of Raksha Bandhan
Besides Raksha Bandhan, Shravan Purnima is celebrated in different ways in different regions. In South India, this day is known as “Avani Avattam”. Brahmins replace their sacred threads – “Janeu” on this day. In Northern India, this day is known as Kajari Purnima. Farmers worship Goddess Bhagwati for a good crop and mothers worship the Goddess for the well-being of their sons. In the western coastal regions, this day is known as Nariyali Purnima. Fishermen offer coconuts to Varun Dev.
How Raksha Bandhan is Celebrated?
Days before the festival, sisters go shopping for Rakhis. These come in various sizes and forms. They also buy sweets or chocolates for their brothers. All get up early and bathe early. The sister then applies a Tika and ties the Rakhi on her brother’s wrist. Aarti is also performed. The brother gives his sister money and gifts – and promises to protect her. All this is done in a joyful and boisterous mood, followed by a special meal – either cooked at home or outside.
Raksha Bandhan Muhurat (Auspicious Times)
Thread tying ceremony – 06:15 AM to 05:31 PM
Aparahan Muhurat – 01:37 PM to 04:07 PM
Purnima Tithi Begins – 07:00 PM on 21st August
Purnima Tithi Ends – 05:31 PM on 22nd August
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