रक्षा बंधन (Raksha Bandhan)

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Raksha Bandhan falls on the full – moon day (Purnima) of the month of Sravana (July – August). Therefore it is also called Rakhi Purnima. The main celebrations of Rakhi Purnima takes different forms in different region.

IThis ritual strengthens the bond of love between brothers and sisters. Rakhi is also tied on the wrists of close friends and neighbours. Women tie a Rakhi (rosette) around the right wrist of their brothers. If the brother is in a distant place the Rakhi may be sent by post. Women receive gifts and cash from brothers.

Raksha Bandhan has a historical background. About 3000 B.C. Aryans entered India through the North – Western passes and settled in North – Western India. They brought with them their traditional custom, Raksha Bandhan. It was a tradition among the Aryans to have a ‘Yajna’ before a war to invoke God’s blessing for protection and security. Apart from the regular army, the clan leader called the able – bodied men of the villages to join the war. Before the men departed for the battle field the women – folk tied an anointed sacred thread or amulet : i) to protect the man ii) to remind him to uphold the honour of his clan. This is how the custom of Raksha Bandhan originated. The word ‘Raksha’ means protection. Later, different ethnic tribes entered India, each with its own traditional customs. This led to a fusion of Aryan and Non – Aryan customs.

Consequently new and modified forms of the various customs came to be. The same happened with Raksha Bandhan.

In the Middle Ages, especially in Rajasthan, it was practised both for imperial alliance and matrimonial alliance. We get innumerable examples of offering Rakhi for such alliances in Todd’s Annals of Rajasthan’. Marwar was attacked by the Sultan of Malwah. Queen. Karna Devi, the dowager queen of Marwar sent a Rakhi to the Moghul Emperor Humayun, to accept her as his sister and to come to her aid. Humayun responded to her gesture. He drove the Sultan of Malwah away from Marwar and saved the queen. That particular day of Purnima was celebrated as Raksha Bandhan in Marwar and then all over Rajasthan and, finally, throughout India.