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History & Significance of Raksha Bandhan
Raksha Bandhan is one of the most popular of festivals celebrated across the entire length and breadth of the country.
Even though India has been a land of festivals and religious traditions since time immemorial, this particular event has had a lot of personal significance for all those celebrating it. It is primarily because of its premise, which involves the spirit of love and bonding between brothers and sisters.
On the day of Raksha Bandhan, brothers and sisters are able to shower their love on each other and take a vow to be at their sides no matter what.
Raksha Bandhan in Hindi stands quite literally for a vow of protection that manifests in the form of tying a Rakhi around the loved one’s wrist. The common tradition is to tie the Rakhi i.e. the wristband around the wrist of one’s brother by the loving sisters.
However, this tradition has its root in the great Indian mythologies and legends starting all the way from the time of the great epics.
In fact, one of the earliest stories involving the theme of Raksha Bandhan revolves around that of the Lord Krishna and Queen Draupadi, the consort of the Pandavas of Mahabharata fame. The story has that Lord Krishna once injured his hand during a fight, and Draupadi tied a piece of cloth with sisterly affection. Krishna later returned the favor by helping save her modesty.
Thus, Raksha Bandhan evolved as a concept to save the life and honor of loved ones.
Raksha Bandhan also includes other such stories from legends and even involving historical figures.
One such popular instance involving historically famous figures involve the Mughal Emperor Jahangir who received a Rakhi and call for help from the widowed queen of Chitoor to help protect her kingdom and honor from an invading ruler of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah. According to legend, this event persuaded Jahangir to head towards Chitoor with his army and to repulse the attack by Bahadur Shah.
Thus, myths and legends have become an integral part of the celebration of Raksha Bandhan in India.
Raksha Bandhan has not lost any of its appeal or significance to this very day, and remains an extremely popular event on the annual calendar, which most people wait eagerly for to arrive. Only with the rise in the consumerist culture, the craze of presenting attractive and pricey gifts has become appealing to many.
Therefore, Raksha Bandhan is likely to remain a popular national festival for years to come.