India > Festivals > Rakhi 2017

Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan

Rakhi is the only festival in India which is celebrated in the all type of religion followers. Initially it was a traditional festival of Hindu religion. In the time of Indian freedom struggle, the great poet Rabindranath Tagor circulated the festival among the all Indian of different religious follower. He wanted to make a friendly relationship among the all Indian each other.

The festival Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan produces a lovable connection between brother and a sister. This festival provides an opportunity to express their love and feelings for each other. Raksha Bandhan is celebrated every year on Shravan Purnima or Rakhi Purnima (according to the Hindu calendar month of Shravan), which generally falls in the month of August.

Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan 2017 in India: Traditionally, Rakhi is a Hindu festival and declared as an optional Holiday or Restricted Holiday of different states in India.
On 2016: 18th August, 2016 (Thursday)
On 2017: 7th August, 2017 (Monday)
On 2018: 26th August, 2018 (Sunday)

The legend of Rakhi

The Bhavishya Puran : According to Bhavishya Puran, The legend refers to a war between the God and the Demons. The demon King Brutra was advancing and the Gods lead by lord Indra, were on verge of defeat. The king of Gods, Indra approached Guru Brihaspati to find a solution to the situation. Brihaspati asked Indra to tie a sacred thread on his wrist, powered by the sacred mantras on the Shravan Purnima. Lord Indra's Queen Sachi also called Indrani, empowered the thread and tied it on to his hand on the decided day. The power of the sacred thread called Raksha helped the Gods to victory.

King Bali and Goddess Laxmi : According to another legend 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 Laxmi wished to be with her lord back in her abode. She went to Bali disguised as a Brahmin woman to seek refuge till her husband came back.

During the Shravan Purnima celebrations, Laxmiji 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.

Yama and the Yamuna : It is said that the Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yamuna. Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and give him immortality.

Rituals of Rakhi

Everyone start preparing for this festival much in advance. About a month before the commencement of Raksha Bandhan, you can see fancy and colorful Rakhis in every market. Ladies start shopping for Rakhi and Rakhi gifts quite early. They shop for new clothes and beautiful Rakhi gifts specially the one that has to be sent to their brothers staying far. Almost every shop, be it sweet shops, garment shops, gift shops, or any other shop, all are flooded with attractive Rakhi gifts to attract people.

On the auspicious day of Rakhi, sisters wake up in the morning, take bath, offer prayers to the Almighty and visit their brothers to perform the rituals of Rakhi. then they arranges the customary Rakhi Puja Thali consisting of Rakhi, Tika, Mithai, Diya besides other traditional puja items to carry out the ceremony.

The ritual of Raksha Bandhan essentially includes binding of holy thread (which is called 'Rakhi' or 'Raksha Sutra') by the sisters, on their brothers' wrist. Before tying Rakhi, the sisters would perform an Aarti, apply Tilak (by mixing rice grains and Roli) on their brother's forehead and then offer them sweetmeat.

After the ritual of tying Rakhi is over, the brothers would give their sisters some gift or money and promise them to help them when ever they need and protect them throughout their lifetime.

Celebration in India

In India, a celebration for Rakhi begins a month before the festival. Markets wear a festival look as colorful Rakhi stall spread out in every nook and corner of the country. Brothers and sisters staying away from home start making plans for a visit to home. For them Raksha Bandhan is the time for family reunion.

Narial Poornima :
The festival of Rakhi is also known as Narial Poornima or Coconut Full Moon. On Mumbai's famous beaches, coconuts are thrown into the sea to propitiate the Sea God, Varuna, who is the chief object of worship on this occasion.

Avani Avittam :
Rakhi is called Avani Avittam in South India. This is the time of "upakarmam" and is celebrated in various ways all over South India. It falls on the full-moon day of the month of Shravan (August-September). Rakhi forms an important Hindu festival in South India.

Shantiniketan :
Rabindra Nath Tagore started gathering of people like 'Rakhi Mahotsavas' in Shantiniketan to propagate the feeling of brotherhood among people. He believed that his will invoke trust and feeling of peaceful coexistence. Raksha Bandhan, for them, is a way to harmonize the relationship of humanity. The tradition continues as people started tying rakhis to the neighbor and friends.