Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is an Indian festival which celebrates the eternal bond of love between brothers and sisters, even if they are not blood relatives. On this auspicious occasion, the sisters tie a sacred thread or Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers and exchange sweets. While fulfilling this ritual, sisters pray for the welfare of their brothers. The brothers also give gifts to their sisters and promise that they will stand with them and take care of them in every situation.
Raksha Bandhan is not limited to Hindus. It is even celebrated by people of all religion across the world.
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the occasion of Shrawan Purnima every year, which usually falls in the month of August.
Facts & Stories behind origin of Raksha Bandhan
Indra Dev and Sachi
According to Bhavishya Purana, Sachi tied the holy thread around the wrist of her husband Lord Indra, when he was going to fight with the demons and their King Bali.
Krishna and Draupadi
Lord Krishna once cut his finger while flying a kite. After watching this, Draupadi rushed to him, tore a piece of cloth from her saree and tied it on his finger. Krishna was touched by this gesture and promised to protect her whenever needed. Later, Lord Krishna protected her during ‘Cheer Haran’ and kept his promise.
Alexander the Great and King Porus
According to legends, when Alexander the Great invaded India in 326 BCE, his wife Roxane sent a rakhi to King Porus with a request to not kill her husband in battle.
After all, the time had come when Alexander and Porus were facing each other on the battlefield. King Porus was just going to kill him. Suddenly, he saw the rakhi on his own wrist, and he remembered his promises not to harm Alexander. Thus, he stopped himself and spares him.
Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun
Rani Karnavati sent a Rakhi to Emperor Humayun, calling him a brother and asking for help to protect her kingdom. Realising that she could not defend against the attack by Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. She committed mass suicide by fire, popularly known as Jauhar.
The emperor reached late with his troops to defend Chittor, and Bahadur Shah had already captured the Rani’s fortress.
Although, Humayun took revenge the death of Karnavati by capturing Mandu from Bahadur Shah in 1535.
Rabindranath Tagore and the Bengal partition of 1905
In 1905, when the British Empire had decided to divide the Bengal, a province of British India on the basis of community and religion. Rabindranath Tagore stood against them. So, he used the concept of Raksha Bandhan to strengthen the bond of love and togetherness between Hindus and Muslims of Bengal and urge them to protest against the British empire. But this event eventually failed as Bengal was divided after Independence.
In some parts of West Bengal, his tradition still continues as people tie rakhis to their neighbours and close friends.