Is Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) a Public Holiday?
Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) in India is regarded as an optional public holiday, since Indian companies are allowed to follow a list of limited number of holidays annually. However, it is regarded as a public holiday in several states or districts accordingly. There are flexible rules for employees regarding this day. They can opt for either a full or half day off since most businesses, retail shops, malls, restaurants etc. remain open and functional on this day.
This festival is not only celebrated in India but worldwide. Indians residing abroad celebrate this day with equal fervour and love. People with other beliefs and nationalities are increasingly becoming interested in Indian culture and beliefs, and trying to become a part of such celebrations. Hence, we can see foreigners touring in India or abroad being a part of this festival wholeheartedly.
Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) History & Legends
Krishna and Draupadi
As per mythological legends, it is believed that Draupadi tore the end of her saree and draped around the index finger of Lord Krishna when he got injured while tossing the Sudarshan Chakra at Shishupala. Touched by her gesture, Lord Krishna vowed to protect her dignity throughout his life.
Queen Kunti and Abhimanyu
According to the Rakhi history in religious scriptures, Queen Kunti tied a sacred thread of protection on the wrist of Abhimanyu, her grandson and the son of the Great Arjuna and his wife Subhadra, during the battle of Mahabharata.
Alexander the Great’s wife Roxana and King Porus
As per the legends, it is said that the wife of Alexander the Great, Roxana, sent a sacred thread for King Porus at the time when her husband was on a mission to invade India around 326 BC. This gesture was a request from her as she wished for the King not to harm her husband. Respecting this gesture, King Porus wore the thread on his wrist and constantly avoided hitting Alexander directly in the battlefield.
Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun
As per popular stories, the queen of Chittor Rani Karnavati sent a Rakhi to the great Mughal Emperor Humayun, thereby seeking his protection from Bahadur Shah, who was the Sultan of Gujarat. Even though Humayun failed to respect his words since he got late, he kept his words and freed her son after defeating Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Rabindranath Tagore and Rakhi Bandhan
One of the legends about Raksha Bandhan is associated with Rabindranath Tagore. It was he who used Rakhi as a tool to unite Hindu-Muslims during Indian Freedom struggle. He suggested both Hindus and Muslims to erase the line of religion and follow the custom of Rakhi to strengthen the communal bond.
Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) Celebrations In India
The festivities of Raksha Bandhan begin early in the morning. Family members are seen waking up early, getting ready, taking a fresh bath and getting all recessed up in new clothes. Traditionally, a puja is conducted with all the family members present, after which, the sister carries out the ritual.
- Sisters prepare a plate with sweets, Akshat or unbroken rice, a diya and Rakhi placed all together.
- Brothers should sit in front of their sisters while holding a Potli or small packet containing mustard seeds, Akshat and golden wire.
- She performs her brother’s aarti, and applies a vermilion tika on his forehead. The brother applies the tika back.
- After this, she ties the Rakhi, the thread of love, devotion and protection, on his brother’s right hand wrist.
- While doing this, a Raksha Sutra mantra must be chanted, which is:
ॐ येन बद्धो बली राजा दानवेन्द्रो महाबलः। तेन त्वामपि बध्नामि रक्षे मा चल मा चल।।
oṃ yena baddho balī rājā dānavendro mahābalaḥ। tena tvāmapi badhnāmi rakṣe mā cala mā cala।।
- Apart from a thread, one can also tie a metal bracelet instead of a rakhi.
- After this, sweets are exchanged, and brothers give gifts to their sisters and vow to protect them.
- Then, blessings are exchanged between brothers and sisters.
After all these rituals are performed, the whole family sits together, share some memorable moments and gorge on sweet delicacies. This day celebrates the beautiful bond shared between a brother and sister.
Rakhi in India: Regional Variations & Rituals
In Jammu, it is very common to fly kites on the day of Raksha Bandhan. People buy a number of kites and strong kite strings called Gattu Dor locally. Therefore, a sky full of kites flying high on the day of Raksha Bandhan is never an unusual sight in Jammu.
In the state of Haryana, along with celebrating the festival of Raksha Bandhan, people also observe a local, traditional festival called Saluno. On this day, amulets are tied on the wrists or elbows of people by the priests as a mode of protection from evil thoughts and spirits.
Different Names of Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi)
Rakshabandhan, as per Hindu Panchang, is celebrated on the day of Purnima or Full Moon day during the Hindu month of Shravan during the Aparahna Kaal. This is why it is also called Rakhi Purnima. However, this day is known by different names in different parts of India:
Upakarma or Avani Avittam
Rakhi is known as Upakarma or Avani Avittam in South India and observed by the Brahmin community on a wide scale. It is on this day itself when a Brahmin changes his Janeu or Yagnopavit and prays to his ancestors for their forgiveness and blessings on him.
Kajari Purnima is observed in Indian states such as Madhya Pradesh (MP), Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand, and known to be one of the names for Raksha Bandhan. On this day, farmers as well as women venerate Maa Bhagwati. Farmers worship the Goddess for cultivating farming, whereas women do the same for the well-being and longevity of their sons.
Narali Purnima or Nariyal Purnima
The Narali Purnima festival is widely celebrated in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and other Weestern Indian states. On this day, people offer coconut (Narali in Marathi) to the Sea in order to venerate Lord Varuna and wish for a plentiful catch.
Pavitropana is celebrated in the state of Gujarat with great devotion. On this holy day, Shiva Linga is worshipped with great dedication. Devotees conduct Yagnas and Pujas, and bathe the Shivling with Panchagavya, a mixture of cow urine, cow dung, cow milk, ghee and curd.
Jhulan Purnima is widely observed in Odisha and West Bengal with great fervour. One of the names for Raksha Bandhan, devotees invoke and worship Radha and Krishna on this day, and sisters tie a sacred thread called Rakhi around the wrist of their brothers.
Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) Symbols
On Raksha Bandhan, sisters tie a sacred thread around the wrist of their brothers known as Rakhi as a symbol of love, trust and protection for lifetime. Therefore, this thread symbolizes the spirit of this festival and signifies the love, loyalty and a sense of protection from elders to their youngsters.
Sisters not only tie Rakhi to their brothers but also on the wrist of someone who has been a brother-like figure or protector in her life.
Raksha Bandhan Observances
|2019||Thu||15 August||Raksha Bandhan||Restricted Holiday|
|2020||Mon||3 August||Raksha Bandhan||Restricted Holiday|
|2021||Sun||22 August||Raksha Bandhan||Restricted Holiday|
|2022||Thu||11 August||Raksha Bandhan||Restricted Holiday|
|2023||Wed||30 August||Raksha Bandhan||Restricted Holiday|
|2024||Mon||19 August||Raksha Bandhan||Restricted Holiday|
|2025||Sat||9 August||Raksha Bandhan||Restricted Holiday|
1. Can we tie Rakhi after Raksha Bandhan?
Since Raksha Bandhan signifies the bond of love and protection between sisters and brothers, Rakhi can be tied on any day of the year.
2. When can a Rakhi be removed?
Yes, Rakhi can be removed anytime. However, keeping in mind the sentiments, Rakhi must be removed some days after the festival. As per Maharashtrian traditions, Rakhi can be removed on the 15th day after Raksha Bandhan.
3. On which hand Rakhi is tied?
Rakhi must be tied on the right hand.
4. Can Rakhis be tied on the wrist of women?
Yes. Tying Rakhi on the wrist of sister-in-laws is a common practice as per Rajasthani traditions called ’Lumba Rakhi’.
From the above information, it is evident that the festival of Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) 2020 in India is celebrated on Monday, 3 August. We hope you have liked this article on Raksha Bandhan (Rakhi) in India. Thank you for being an important part of AstroSage.