Festival of Rakhi ”“ falls on August 2 this year!

Rakhi festival this year falls on August 2. It is a unique Indian festival of its kind which strengthens every year the bond between a brother and sister and is a reminder of pious relation between them. The ceremony involves tying of Rakhi thread by a sister on her brother’s wrist as she wishes him a long, happy and a prosperous life while he vows to always protect her. The festival falls on full moon day of the Shravan month of the Hindu calendar. There are many legends behind this festival one being   in ancient times the queen of Chittor sent a Rakhi to the Mughal emperor for help when she could not defend her kingdom against the invasion by the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah.

Some other legends that are connected to this festival are:

King Bali and Goddess Laxmi

According to a legend the Demon King Bali was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu had taken up the task to guard his kingdom leaving his own abode in Vaikunth. Goddess Lakshmi wished to be with her lord back in her abode. She went to Bali disguised as a woman to seek refuge till her husband came back.

During the Shravan Purnima celebrations, Lakshmi tied the sacred thread to the King. Upon being asked, she revealed who she was and why she was there. The king was touched by her goodwill for his family and her purpose and requested the Lord to accompany her. He sacrificed all he had for the Lord and his devoted wife.

Thus devotion to the Lord. It is said that since then it has been a tradition to invite sisters in Shravan Purnima for the thread tying ceremony or the Raksha Bandhan.

Yama and the Yamuna

According to another legend, Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yamuna, (the river in northern India). Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and bestowed immortality. Yama was so moved by the serenity of the occasion that he declared that whoever gets a rakhi tied from his sister and promised her protection, will become immortal.

Alexander the Great and King Puru

According to one legendary narrative, when Alexander the Great invaded India in 326 BC, Roxana (or Roshanak, his wife) sent a sacred thread to Porus, asking him not to harm her husband in battle. In accordance with tradition, Porus, a Katoch king, gave full respect to the rakhi. On the battlefield, when Porus was about to deliver a final blow to Alexander, he saw the rakhi on his own wrist and restrained himself from attacking Alexander personally.

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