The ancient tradition of Raksha Bandhan is when sisters and brothers proclaim their love and protection for each other. The word Raksha means protection, while Bandhan is the verb to tie. It is a Hindu festival that ritually celebrates the love and duty between brothers and their sisters.

A sister feeding sweetmeats to her brother

Traditionally, the sister performs a rakhi ceremony where she prays to express her love and her wish for the well being of her brother. This is accompanied with the feeding of sweetmeats. In return, the brother ritually pledges to protect and take care of his sister under all circumstances and gives gifts. Today, brothers and sisters have their own rituals for this occasion but the meaning remains the same.

History

It is said that during the Kurukshetra War in 3102 BCE, Lord Krishna was injured. Draupadi went to him, tore a piece of her sari and tied it around his wound. Krishna vowed that from that day, he would protect her always.

Krishna and Draupadi

Krishna and Draupadi

One of the oldest references to the festival of Raksha Bandhan in Western history goes back to 300 BCE when Alexander invaded India. It is said that the great conqueror was shaken by the fury of the Indian King Puru (Porus / Poros) in his first attempt. Upset by this, Alexander’s wife, who had heard of the Raksha Bandhan festival, approached King Puru. King Puru accepted her as his sister, a duty he took so seriously that when the opportunity came during the war, he refrained from Alexander. Alexander was greatly impressed by his adversary and not only reinstated him as the ruler of his own kingdom but also granted him dominion over lands to the south-east extending until the Beas River.

Raksha Bandhan is a day to remember those people we consider brothers and sisters, related or not. It is a day where we promise to honour and protect this close bond.

At Gorima’s we have a wide selection of rakhis, sweetmeats, snacks and prayer goods so visit your nearest store for all your Raksha Bandhan needs.