By Saachi Kedia and Prasamsa Moktan

We giggle and we cry, we play, and we fight. The moments of happiness and sorrow we have shared make our bond even stronger. This is the essence of ‘Raksha Bandhan’. Raksha Bandhan is the tradition that respects the bond between a brother and sister. It is one of the most popular festivals celebrated by Hindus annually. This festival falls under the holy month of Shravana (which is a month dedicated to Lord Shiva) and is celebrated on the day of Purnima (full moon day) according to the Hindu calendar.

The festival symbolises brotherly love and has many mythological, religious, and historical beliefs and stories. There are many stories that people acknowledge about the Raksha Bandhan. According to Hindu mythology, the concept of Raksha Bandhan arose from the Mahabharata. Mahabharata is an ancient Indian epic story that revolves around the two families; Pandavas and Kauravas who were in a battle for the throne of Hastinapur. It is said that when Lord Krishna accidentally cut his finger. Draupadi, who is the consort of the five Pandava brothers tore a piece of cloth from her saree and wrapped it around Lord Krishna’s wound. Seeing this act of love from Draupadi, Lord Krishna vowed to protect her from any difficulties. Being committed to his vow, Lord Krishna protected Draupadi from the Kauravas when they attempted to harass her. Hence, it is believed that after this event, Draupadi started to tie ‘Rakhi,’ an ornamental cotton wristband that a girl ties to her brother on Raksha Bandhan to Lord Krishna, and this began the ritual of Raksha Bandhan.

In keeping with the promise that Lord Krishna made to Draupadi, brothers promise to always safeguard their sister on the auspicious day of Raksha Bandhan. In return, sisters always desire the best for their brothers. Nowadays, the exchange of gifts also takes place. Raksha Bandhan is also named differently in different countries, such as Janipurnima, Avittam, Rakhi, and Rakhi Purnima are also a few common names that are used in place of Raksha Bandhan.