Raksha Bandhan, (the bond of protection) or Rakhi is a Vedic festival primarily observed in India and Nepal, which celebrates the relationship between brothers, cousins and sisters. It is also called Rakhi Purnima in most of India. It is also celebrated in some parts of Pakistan.
The festival is observed by Hindus, and some Sikhs and Muslims. “Raksha” means protection, “bandhan” means bound or binding.
The sister on this day prepares the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal and rakhis. She worships the deities, ties Rakhi to the brother(s) and wishes for their well-being.
The brother in turn acknowledges the love with a promise to be by the sisters’ side through thick and thin and gives her a token gift. This symbolizes the sister’s love and prayers for her brother’s well-being, and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect her. Raksha Bandhan tightens the bond of love between the sister and brother.
The ritual is observed on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravan (Shravan Poornima). This ritual not only strengthens the bond of love between brothers and sisters, but also transcends the confines of the family. When a Rakhi is tied on the wrists of close friends and neighbors, it underscores the need for a harmonious social life, where every individual co-exist peacefully as brothers and sisters. All members of the community commit to protect each other and the society.