Raksha-Bandhan: History, significance and celebration
Raksha-Bandhan a major festival of Hindus specially dedicated to brothers and sisters falls on Shravan poornima of Hindu calendar. The day symbolizes the love of brothers and sisters. The festival is of hindus but it is observed by people of other religions too. The main tradition of Raksha-Bandhan or Rakhi is tying a rakhi(sacred thread) on brother's wrist with prayer of his well-being and brother returning a promise of life long protection of his sister. The actual beginning of this festival is not actually known as there is mention of Rakhi in almost every Indian epic.
History of Raksha-Bandhan
As mentioned above the actual history of Raksha- Bandhan is not really knows as it often occurred in the history but these incidents can be discussed.
King Bali and godess Laxmi:
Lord Vishnu once went to King Bali in Baman avtar and asked for 3pag grants and when Bali promised it Lord Vishnu covered whole swarg and prithvi in his 2 pags and putted 3rd on Bali's head. Vishnu in return promised Bali a vardan and he demanded Vishnu to be his gatekeeper.
After 6 months on Shravan poornima godess Laxmi tied a sacred thread to Bali and asked him to leave Lord Vishnu and allow them to go to vaikunth their celestial place.
So the festical is also called Baleva. Its believed that after that the tradition of Rakhi began.
Krishna and Draupadi:
This incident falls in the epic Mahabharat where Lord Krishna and Draupadi the wife of Pandavas were believed to be tied with the bond of Rakhi. Once Draupdi torn a strip of her silk saree and tied it around the wrist of Lord Krishna's wrist as his hand was bleeding. Krishna was touched with it and declared Draupdi as his sister. Krishna repaid this debt and kept his rakhi vow on the time of Vastra-Haran by extending her saree so it could not be removed.
The other references of Rakhi in History are of Alexander and Puru when in battle Puru left Alexander because Roxana wife of Alexander sent him a sacred thread asking promise of not harming her husband. Rani Karnavati the widow queen of Chittor sent rakhi to Mughal emperor Humayun demanding protection. Hindu deity of death Yama and river Yamuna are believed to be the brother-sisters
On the day of Rakhi every sisters prays for long life and well being of her brothers and in return brother promises to protect her from all troubles of life. The day signifies the love and affection of brothers and sisters.
On this day early morning sisters after taking bath wears new clothes, decorates their puja thalis and on the muhurt ties the sacred thread to the wrist of their brothers. She first gives nariyal(coconut) to his brother's hand and after that applies tika and roli to her brother's forehead and then ties him the sacred thread. In return brother gives a gift and promises her life long protection.