500+ Words Essay on Raksha Bandhan in English
Raksha Bandhan is one of the significant festivals of the Hindu religion and is celebrated with great reverence. It is a sacred festival celebrated by brothers and sisters to strengthen their bond. It is believed that the festival received importance and popularity when Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of Chittor sent a Rakhi to the Mughul Emperor Humayun when she required help.
The festival is made up of two words, “Raksha” and “Bandhan.” The occasion means to tie a knot of protection. The sister ties Rakhi on brothers wrist and in returns receives a gift. It is a symbol of a love relationship between brother and sister. Not only blood relations but cousins, nephew, sister-in-law and others can celebrate too.
Origin of Raksha Bandhan
This festival is known to have its roots back in ancient times. Several mythological stories support this theory.
The Birth of Santoshi Maa
One such story is of creation of Santoshi Maa. Lord Ganesha had two sons but no sister. The children were frustrated and told Lord Ganesha to create a sister for them. First He was reluctant to do so, but later he created Santoshi Maa through flames and the two brothers finally got their sister on Raksha Bandhan.
Yama and Yamuna
Another story is of death, God Yama and his sister the Yamuna. Yama did not visit his sister for twelve years because of which she got unhappy and sad. On the advice of river Ganga, he visited her during Raksha Bandhan. She performed the rites with joy and tied Rakhi on his wrist when Yama asked her what she seeks in return. She told him to visit her often. He agreed to this willingly.
Draupadi and Krishna
The most popular of all is the story of Draupadi wife of Pandavas, from Mahabharata. On Makar Sankranti day Krishna cut his finger accidentally. Draupadi saw this and immediately cut off a little bit of saree and tied around his finger to stop bleeding. In return, Krishna promised to help her when required. Later Krishna helped and protected her from Kauravas abuse.
Goddess Lakshmi and Mahabali
Demon Mahabali was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Because of his devotion, Lord Vishnu promised to protect his kingdom and stay by his side. On hearing this Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu got sad. So she disguised herself as a Brahman woman to Bali’s Kingdom and took refuge.
There she tied Rakhi on his wrist and declared him her brother. In return, she revealed who she was and asked to have her husband. Bali was pleased by her love and affection towards Vishnu and told him to accompany her. From then sisters are invited at brother’s place for Rakhi.
Alexander’s wife and king Purushottam
It is believed that when Hindu King Purushottam defeated Alexander. His wife tied Rakhi to King Purushottam to protect her husband from being slain.
In 1905, Rabindranath Tagore initiated Rakhi Mahotsav to celebrate Raksha Bandhan and strengthen the unity of Hindus and Bengali Muslims. He even penned down a few lines stressing on the importance of Rakhi:
The love in my body and heart
For the earth’s shadow and light
Has stayed over years.
With its cares and its hope, it has thrown
A language of its own
Into blue skies.
It lives in my joys and glooms
In the spring night’s buds and blooms
Like a Rakhi-band
On the Future’s-hand.
Importance of Raksha Bandhan Festival
It is observed on the last day of Shraavana, which falls in August month of the Gregorian calendar. This month is considered the holy month for Hindus as Lord Shiva is worshipped on every Monday, and so is Rakhi.
Family is an essential institution to instil values of unity, love, affection and care for each other. It encourages a healthy sibling relationship. Brothers and sisters not only care for each other but also protect and shield their bond. Since childhood, kids celebrate this occasion, and as they grow into adults, they attach great significance to it.
The preparation of Rakhi is done in advance by the sisters. They select specific designer rakhi’s for their brothers and even shop for traditional clothes to wear on that day. They decorate the house and thali.
The brothers choose gifts for their sisters and eagerly wait for this day. Special delicacies like Matar Kulcha, Sooji Halwa, Coconut ladoo, Kaju Katli and Phirni are prepared in the house, and all the members of the family gather together. While tying Rakhi on their hand, sisters pray for the well-being, goodwill, prosperity and health. Brothers vow to protect and take care of their sisters forever.
Tying Rakhi is not restricted to siblings but also the Gods or Gurus. For instance, many women offer Rakhi to Lord Hanuman and Lord Krishna and pray for protection from them against evil. It is tied to Gurus to express profound gratitude and respect.
The festival is even called Narali Poornima, Kajari Poornima and Rakhi Poornima in different states and celebrated differently. In West Bengal and Odisha, it is known as Jhulan Poornima. Prayers and Pooja of Lord Krishna and Radha are performed there. In Gujarat, Lord Shiva is worshipped to get rid of all sins.
Central regions like Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the seeds of wheat and barley are sowed. Only women who have borne sons perform these rituals. Goddess Bhagwati is offered prayers and the first harvest.
In South India, the Brahmans take a dip in holy water and change their thread called Janeyu. They commence reading Yajur Veda. In Nepal, Raksha Bandhan is called as Doru and Janai Poornima. Hindu males are tied a sacred thread called Janai. Salona is the name of this festival in Haryana. The priests tie amulets on the wrists of the male which is then followed by sisters tying Rakhi.
Message of Rakhi
It not only strengthens the bond but gives a meaning to it. Rakhi conveys the message of universal brotherhood and sisterhood and underlines the purity in thought, positive approach and good deed. It breaks the barriers of class, caste and religion and brings people of all strata together to celebrate the festival.