Raksha Bandhan 2021: Date, muhurat, history, celebration of Rakhi in India
- Raksha Bandhan 2021: Here’s all you need to know about the date, history, significance, shubh muhurat and celebration of Rakhi festival among the Hindu community in India
Celebrated as a mark of protection and love between siblings, the festival of Raksha Bandhan is observed with great pomp and show among the members of the Hindu community especially in India. Also known as Rakhi or Rakshabandhan, the festival is quite similar in its essence and sentiment to Bhai Dooj except that on Raksha Bandhan, the ceremonial Rakhi is tied on the siblings’ wrists.
It is a time-honoured ritual of protection, the greatest gift that siblings give each other and celebrates the pure bond that exists between siblings. While “Raksha” literally translates to ‘safety’, “bandhan” means ‘bond’ and the festival of Rakha Bandhan is a celebration of this unbreakable bond that exists between siblings with a promise to always be there to protect and no matter what the circumstances and in an unconditional way that is only integral to siblings.
Date and shubh muhurat:
Since Rakhi is celebrated annually on the full moon in the Hindu Month of Shravan, each year there is a particular time which is considered optimal for carrying out the ritual. This year, Rakha Bandhan falls on August 22 and the ‘shubh muhurat’ or the best time to tie the rakhi thread on your sibling is between 1:42pm to 4:18pm.
This is the Aparahna Muhurat and if the devotees miss it due to some preoccupation, they can opt for the Pradosh Kaal (starts at sunset and lasts upto 96 minutes after that) since the rakhi can be tied anytime from 6:15 in the morning to 5:31 in the evening of August 22. However, the scriptures say that tying the rakhi should not take place during the Bhadra phase (late evening and early morning which differs from time to time) of the day since it is believed that during the Bhadra period, certain negative energies are at play.
History and significance:
During the Mahabharata, it is believed that Draupadi tied a rakhi on Krishna’s wrist when he had injured his finger while using his sudarshan chakra against the king Shishupalal. While Krishna’s hand was bleeding, Draupadi tore a piece from her sari and tied it around his hand.
Krishna was so touched by this gesture that in return, he vowed that he would always be there to protect and cherish her.
Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore started a mass Raksha Bandhan festival during the Partition of Bengal (1905), in which he encouraged Hindu and Muslim women to tie a rakhi on men from the other community and make them their brothers. The exercise was designed to counter British efforts to create a divide between Hindus and Muslims.
Celebration in India:
On this occasion, a girl or a woman puts a tilak on her brother’s forehead and ties a rakhi around his wrist in a ritual that reaffirms the bond and support of her brother(s). She receives a gift from her brother(s) and traditionally endows them with a responsibility to care for her.
When a girl/woman ties a rakhi around her brother’s wrist, he promises to protect her from all the problems in life and gives her his blessings. Nowadays, you can finds Rakhi bands of all shapes and sizes from which you can select one that represents your sibling bond the best.
In the modern interpretation of this ritual, the roles can go either way. The attention shifts from the religious aspect to a more playful exchange of gifts and a mutual understanding of peace, at least for a day!
Sometimes rakhis are tied to elder sister if one doesn’t have an older brother, sometimes rakhis are tied to friends and distant relatives especially in the case of single children. No matter how it is carried out, the essence remains the same - the rakhi is tied to someone who has been caring and nurturing towards you and always looking out for you while gender and relations are secondary.