Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) Festival Date, Story, Rituals and Celebrations

Date

Year Day

3rd August

2020 Monday

22nd August

2021 Sunday
11th August 2022

Thursday

30th August 2023

Wednesday

Note: Dates may vary.

Raksha Bandhan is one of the most meaningful festival in India, and also dear to one’s heart for sentimental reasons. Raksha Bandhan normally falls in the month of August. Is a reminder of the bond that exists between brothers and sisters?

A bond that is so strong that it overrules everything else. A bond based only on love and affection, a bond that demands nothing. Bonds which is re-affirmed every year by tying a rakhi or thread which strengthens the ties between brothers and sisters.

No other relationship can compare to that which exists between a brother and a sister who have shared so much while growing up and can understand one’s feeling and emotions.

A sister, whether married or not, in times of trouble and joy will first think of sharing her feeling with a brother. He is someone she can depend on.

Someone she is sure will always respond to her cry for help. Therefore, on Raksha Bandhan, the sister ties a rakhi on the right hand wrist of her brother and he in turn, promises to protect her from harm. The sister prays for the long life and well being of her brother.

The brothers normally give gifts or money to the sister. It is immaterial what the gift costs ro how much money they give. This is just a token of love which symbolized what Raksha Bandhan is all about.

Raksha Bandhan Festival

Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) Festival Story:

The puja for Raksha Bandhan is normally done in the morning. The sisters do not have anything to eat until they have tied a rakhi on the wrist of their brothers.

Of course, it is always not possible that the sister and brother can meet in the morning if the brother has to either go to work or stays quite a distance away.

In such cases, rakhi is also tied later in the day, depending on their convenience. But the brothers take such pride in having a rakhi on their wrist that they would prefer it that the sisters perform the puja before they leave for work.

The sister has a well decorated thaali ready with a coconut, roti, rice, rakhi and sweets. She applies a tikka on her brother and ties the rakhi with a silent prayer for his well being.

The Story of Shravan Kumar:

Behind this festival is also a story. A very pious couple prayed to god to give them son. They were both pure of heart and god fulfilled their wish. A son was born to them. They name him Shravan Kumar.

Shravan was a very good son to his parents. He took good care of them and always obeyed them. When they grew old, they lost their eyesight but sharavan was always there for them and they never felt neglected.

One day the parents told Shravan of their desire to go where the Ganga flowed. Shravan prepared a pole with a basket at each end.

He made his parents sit in each basket and he carried them for the pilgrimage. No son could have done as much as Shravan did for his parents because he loved them very much.

On the way his parents said they were thirsty and would like some water to drink. On hearing the gurgling of stream nearby, Shravan left his parents and went to collect water for them.

Just then King Dashrath who was hunting in that area, heard the rustling of leaves and thinking it was deer, shot an arrow which pierced Shravan’s heart.

Shravan let out a scream and King Dashrath immediately realized his mistake. He ran towards the stream and found Shravan, covered in blood and breathing his last breath.

He put Shravan’s head on his lap. Shravan could barely speak but managed to tell the king of his parents and that they were waiting for Shravan to bring them water.

He told King Dashrath to take water to them but not to speak until they had drink the water or they would not have the water once they know Shravan was no more. Shravan closed his eyes and passed away.

King Dashrath filled the glass with water and went to Shravan’s parents who were waiting for him. Although they could not see, they instinctively knew it was not their son.

They asked who had come before them and where was their son. They repeated the question till King Dashrath had no option but to tell them what had happened.

They threw away the water King Dashrath offered them and cursed him, saying “may you also feel the pain of waiting for a son to return, and may you die in agony”, the parents dropped dead.

King Dashrath was very upset with what had happened. On reaching home he told his wives what had transpired and of the curse of the old couple.

Astrologers were called and the story related to them. The queens wanted to know what remedies to take so that no tragedy befell their king.

The wise men told them that there was no doubt they would have sons. And there were born Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan, and every on rejoiced.

But like we all know, Ram and Lakshman were sent into exile for fourteen years and that Ram was the favorite son of King Dashrath. The King couldn’t bear the separation and died of a broken heart, thereby the curse of Shravan’s parents came to pass.

The story also adds, if there was a sister to pray for the long life of her brother, Shravan Kumar would not have died. Therefore, no family is complete unless they have both sons and daughters.

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