Raksha Bandhan 2018: Unravelling the many stories behind the Hindu festival

25 August 2018, 10:29 PM
 Raksha Bandhan 2018 and the story behind its origin  (Photo: Twitter)
Raksha Bandhan 2018 and the story behind its origin (Photo: Twitter)

Raksha Bandhan 2018 falls on August 26 according to the Hindu calendar this year, As the auspicious day of this Hindu festival that celebrates the special bond between sisters and brothers nears, the market is flooded with Rakhi goodies and Rakhi gifts. And there are special religious and cultural significance of Raksha Bandhan. But what is the origin of this festival celebrated by all Hindus across the world? What is story behind Raksha Bandhan celebration? Indian tradition and culture is full of folklores and myths and associated with religion. Here are some of the fascinating facts about Raksha Bandhan: 

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Krishna and Draupadi
The story goes that one of the most beloved gods in the Hindu Religion, Krishna cut his little finger when handling sugarcane. While his queen Rukmini sent for bandages, Draupadi hurriedly tore a piece of her saree and tied it around his finger. In return for the generous act, Draupadi showed Krishna pledged to help her whenever a need requires. Hence, when Draupadi was asked to disrobe her saree in the Hall of Hastinapura, Krishna came to her aide. Although, Krishna and Draupadi were not brothers or sisters the pledge of care and protection Krishna vowed to Draupadi is the few stories behind the origin of Raksha Bandha.

Yama and Yamuna
Another mythical story of how Raksha Bandhan started and the association with the gods. Yama was the god of death while Yamuna the holy river that still flows in India. And the story goes that Yamuna tied a rakhi to Yama to which she was granted with immortality. Maybe, that is the reason why the river Yamuna still flows to this day. The story also goes that Yama was moved by the gesture of what Yamuna did for him. Hence, he sanctioned a ritual that any male or brother when tied a rakhi and vowed to safeguard his sister would become immortal. 

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Goddess Laxmi and King Bali
This story is one that showed how a demon can also have his good side. King Bali was a demon king whom Lord Vishnu as part of his pledge had been protecting as a doorman. Being away from Vaikuntha, lord Vishnu’s consort, Laxmi began to miss him terribly. Making herself look like woman in need of shelter she approaches Bali who opens the door generously for the goddess of Wealth. And with her, she brought along prosperity. In the holy month of Shravana on a full moon, Laxmi tied a rakhi on Bali’s wrists in return for protection and happiness. Bali in return asks what she wishes for the most, to which she points to the gatekeeper. King Bali exposes his identity and so does the goddess. Bali requests Vishnu to return home to which he does. 

There are hence many other myths and lores explaining as to how the Raksha Bandhan came into being. Regardless of how the story originates, Raksha Bandhan celebrates the bother-sisterly love. A day to express the love each sibling has for the other. It hence as a festival stretches to more than just tying rakhis and receiving gifts.

First Published: Friday, August 24, 2018 03:26 PM
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