This is a festival of importance for Hindus. A vow to protect the right and justice in the society is taken on this festival day.
The festival falls on the full-moon day in the month of Shrawan by Hindu calender and in the month of August according to English calendar. Rains cool the atmosphere. Moon light provides a pleasant and peaceful environment.
In the times gone by Brahmins, sages and seers who were meek physically but mentally strong were always in need of protection from the physical danger. Kshatriyas were, the protectors of the whole society. They were always ready to use their sword in protection of the weak and wise. Gurus, well red Brahmins and men of hermitages used to tie a holy thread on the wrists of kings, brave and strong men. This thread, tied by the learned people, is a symbol of blessing and vow to their life and safety. This thread always reminded the kings and the brave to protect those who tied it on their wrists. It functioned as a safety shield, gave them strength and inspired to protect weak and uphold right and justice in the society.
At present the Pundits and Purohits tie on the wrists of nobles rich and strong. In return they get some money, clothes or some other gratification.
This custom of asking protection, during Muslim invasion shifted to woman folk. The household woman tied the holy thread called Rakhi—the one who protects, on the wrists of their brothers. Now, this thread is mainly as symbol of brother-sister relation- ship. It is tied to the wrist of brother by sister. The brother takes the vow to protect her mode sty; chastity and life. History tells that Humayun protected Rani Karnavati of Mewar from the invasion of Shersha Suri when he received Rakhi thread from Karnavati. Every year this festival reminds us of pure and pious relation between brother and sister. Blessings from the heart of sister to the safety and well being of her brother are put in this thread. That is why this “Raksha Bandhan” possesses importance and purity.
One day prior to festival, something in yellow or red is drawn in the house which is called ‘sona’. For this occasion Milk pudding with rice (Khir) and vermicelli (Semai) are cooked. These items are offered to sona and Rakhi. After the worship, the sisters in the house tie Rakhi thread to wrists of brothers and apply tilak to their forehead. Brothers provided to the sisters money or clothes or both according to the capacity and desire. Then all the family members sit together to eat pucca food cooked by the lady of the house along with sevai and khir. Barley ears grown for this occasion in an earthen pot are also given by sister to the brothers and rest they immerse in the rivers or lakes.
Raksha Bandhan is a festival of strong protecting the weak. It is the most important festival to remind the brother-sister relationship to the whole world. Every brother should feel proud and take vow to protect his sisters.