Raksha Bandhan is observed on the last day of the lunar month of Shravan in the Hindu calendar, which usually falls in August.
The most important part of the celebrations sees the sisters tying a sacred thread or talisman – known as a rakhi – on their brother’s wrists, and in return, brothers offer a gift to their sisters. This symbolizes care and protection.
“Raksha bandhan” translates to “the bond of safety and security” that siblings promise each other, regardless of the circumstances.
When is Raksha Bandhan 2023?
The date of Raksha Bandhan changes every year, depending on the lunar cycle. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan.
This year the festival will be celebrated both Wednesday August 30 and Thursday August 31.
This is due to something known as Bhadra Kaal, during which one should not perform Raksha Bandhan rituals. In astrology, Bhadra Kaal occurs when the Sun is in the zodiac sign Leo. This should end on Wednesday at 9:01 p.m. As it gets dark, Raksha Bandhan takes place over two days, with the linking of rakhi coming Thursday.
What is the meaning of Raksha Bandhan?
Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi, is one of the oldest festivals in India. It is a day that celebrates the bond and love between a brother and a sister, or between brothers and sisters in general. In Sanskrit, raksha represents protection and bandhan means to attach.
The festival originated from an ancient story about Lord Krishna and his friend Draupadi, a couple who embodied platonic and caring male and female friendships in Hindu scriptures.
The story goes that Lord Krishna cut his finger using his divine disk. Her good friend Draupadi rushed to help treat the wound, wrapping the loose end of her sari around her bloody finger.
In ancient history, Lord Krishna then promised Draupadi eternal and steadfast protection in gratitude for her care – a promise he kept, especially during his public humiliation at the royal court of Hastinapur.
How is Raksha Bandhan celebrated?
During Rakhi, each member of the family gets up early for the rituals; A special puja thali is prepared for the ceremony and roli, rice grains, diya, sweets and rakhis are kept in the thali.
As the rakhi is related, a prayer is made asking for happiness and prosperity in Sanskrit or Punjabi. After the sisters tied the knot rakhithe brother offers a gift in return and promises to protect his sister from any danger.
These days rakhis are decorated with multi-colored silk threads and often adorned with stones and pearls.
Those who do not have male brothers or cousins usually attach rakhis on their elder sister’s hand, or celebrate the occasion with other relatives or friends.