The festival of Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is celebrated in India and some parts of South-east Asia. On this day, sisters tie a ‘rakhi’ (amulet or a bracelet) around their brother’s wrist, traditionally investing the brothers with a share of the responsibility of their potential care. This year Raksha Bandhan falls on 15th August, 2019.
Raksha Bandhan is observed on the last day of the Hindu lunar calendar month of Shraavana, which typically falls in August. According to the Hindu calendar, the auspicious time for Rakhi this year is from 10:22 am to 08:08 pm on 15th August 2019.
This festival is celebrated across India differently. In addition to tying rakhis, the significance of this day varies in different regions of the country. In the states of West Bengal and Odisha, this day is also called ‘Jhulan Purnima’ and prayers for Lord Krishna and Radha are performed. In Maharashtra, the festival of Raksha Bandhan is celebrated along with Narali Poornima (coconut day festival). The fishermen offer prayers to Lord Varuna, the Hindu god of Sea, to invoke his blessings. As part of the rituals, coconuts were thrown into the sea as offerings to Lord Varuna.
In parts of North India, mostly Jammu, it is a common practice to fly kites on Raksha Bandhan. The locals buy kilometres of strong kite string, commonly called as ‘gattu door’ in the local language, along with kites of all shapes and sizes on this day. In Haryana, people also observe the festival of ‘Salono’ on this day. Salono is celebrated by priests by solemnly tying amulets to protect people against evil.
In Nepal, Raksha Bandhan is referred to as ‘Janai Purnima’ or ‘Rishitarpani’, and involves a sacred thread ceremony. It is observed by both Hindus and Buddhists of Nepal. The Hindu men change the sacred thread they wear around their chests, while in some parts of Nepal girls and women tie rakhi on their brother’s wrists. The festival is observed by the Shaiva Hindus, and is popularly known in Newar community as ‘Gunhu Punhi’.