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When is Raksha Bandhan?

Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is a traditional festival that is celebrated by Indians worldwide.
It is celebrated in August on Shravan Purnima day, every year.
Rakhi, Golden Thread
Families come together on this special day or Raksha Bandhan as brothers and sisters reaffirm their relationship. The sister ties a thread or decorated band around her brother's wrist. This is accompanied by rituals, an exchange of gifts and the reaffirmation of a pledge by brothers, to protect their sisters at all times.

Raksha Bandhan Legends

There are many legends associated with the Indian festival of Rakhi. Different heroes in Indian mythology and history with whom rakhis are associated are:

Indra: According to legend Indra found himself being defeated by the demon king or Daitya Raja. On the advice of his guru Brihaspati, his consort tied a Raksha on Indra's wrist and this helped him achieve victory against the demon king.

Yudhishtra: The eldest of the Pandavas is believed to have asked Krishna, how to protect himself, before the epic battle of the Mahabharata. Lord Krishna instructed him that he would be protected by the beneficial power of the rakhi.

Alexander: When Alexander invaded the Indian subcontinent in 326 B.C. he had to fight many battles against the rulers of kingdoms in the north West. Alexander's wife is believed to have tied a rakhi to the king Puru or Porus. In return he is believed to have promised to protect her and her husband. In battle when he had the opportunity to strike Alexander, his promise is believed to have restrained him from delivering a fatal blow.

Humayun: During Mughal times the custom of tying Rakhis helped bind the Hindu Rajputs and the Mughal rulers of Delhi together. According to legend, when Bahadur Shah of Gujarat attacked Rani Karnavati of Chittor, she sent a rakhi to Humayun and requested him to help. He tried to come to her aid but was too late, Chittor had already fallen and the Rani had immolated herself in the Rajput custom of Jauhar.

In present day times women have used the tradition of Rakhi as a way of deflecting unwanted attention and some women politicians have maintained political relationships with other leaders, by tying rakhis on them. The different ways, in which the custom of rakhi is followed today, shows the continued relevance of Raksha Bandhan in today's world.

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