For centuries, in India, Rakhi has been the bond that binds brothers and sisters. It may be a slender thread, but there’s much more meaning to it.
The humble Rakhi over the years, has seen many an avatar unfold…
Bold & Beautiful…rakhis
Remember the time when large blobs of foam or sponge were crafted into flower-power rakhis? Some came encrusted with gold beads, velvet and sequins while others had imaginative bumble bees sipping nectar! Some brothers loved them, others hated them, but they all wore them for that one day!
Om Shanti Om…rakhis
Then came the years of ‘religious’ rakhis: large, shimmering Om symbols sat on frilly flowers made from gota, some rakhis came with the all-auspicious gold swastika sitting astride red velvet. Then there were the can’t-go-wrong rakhis with Ganesha, Lakshmi, kalash, Om and Swastika huddled together on one rakhi.
Small is beautiful…rakhis
Then came these slender, simple rakhis where there was no need to announce or advertise the brother-sister love! These were slim twirls of thread in vermillion and turmeric with small gold beads or a muted design on top. Brothers discretely slipped them under the cuffs of their crisp shirts…
Bling is king…rakhis
With today’s bling invasion, rakhis too underwent a metamorphosis. Today some come encrusted with shimmering Swarovskis, real gold beads and even gemstones. How about telling your brother you think he’s good as gold, with pure 22 / 24 carat gold rakhis. There are Lakshmi gold coin rakhis, diamond rakhis, emerald / pearl rakhis and even silver rakhis…
Today’s motto is, if you’ve got it, flaunt it! This applies to rakhis too…
Raksha Bandhan Tradition
Rakhi comes in the month of Shravan, on a full moon day. This Hindu festival celebrates the bond of love between a brother and sister.
When is Raksha Bandhan 2012?
Raksha Bandhan or rakhi falls on August 2 (Thursday) this year.
Raksha Bandhan legend has it…
When Draupadi saw Krishna’s finger bleeding, she tore a strip of cloth to bandage it. Thereafter Krishna looked upon her as his sister and vowed to protect her. When the Pandavas gambled Draupadi away, and the Kauravas were unraveling her saree, Krishna came to her rescue and elongated her saree to a seamless length.
It is also believed that goddess Lakshmi tied a rakhi on the demon king, Bali, a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Since Vishnu chose to guard Bali’s kingdom, he had to stay away from his consort, Lakshmi. The rakhi melted the demon king’s heart and he requested Lakshmi and Vishnu to return to heaven forever.
Raksha Bandhan History…
The earliest reference dates back to 300 BC, when Alexander’s wife is known to have tied a rakhi to Porus. Historical references stand testimony to Rani Karnavati having first sent a rakhi to Emperor Humayun in 1630 AD, making him her brother and appealing for protection from Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Humayun honoured her request, and rode to her rescue immediately.
Rakhi – The ‘thread’ of tradition
Rakhi is that time of the year when brothers and sisters renew their bonds of love. Traditionally a sister ties a red-coloured thread on her brother’s wrist, offers him sweets and requests him to protect her through life.
The brother in turn promises to look after his sister through his lifetime, and gives her a token return gift on this day.
Happy Raksha Bandhan 2012!!!