Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival celebrating the brotherhood between two beings of opposite sex, whether they are truly brothers and sisters by blood or consider themselves as such on the basis of their friendship. Raksha Bandhan literally translates as the bond of protection. The festival is called simply Rakhi in some parts of India, designating the sacred bracelet the girl will tie the boy's wrist.
Attached to the Hindu religion, the festival is also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs. Apart from India, the Nepal and the island Maurice commemorate this day: cultural exchanges between India and Nepal are many because of their geographical proximity and Mauritius is among its population many Indians and their descendants.
There are many myths and legends surrounding this holiday. The most historicised legend dates back to the time of Alexander the Great . When he invaded India in 326 BC, his wife Roxana decides to send a sacred Indian king Porus bracelet which then reigns over the current Punjab. This gift is carrying a request Roxana implore Porus not to personally harm to Alexander if they were to compete. During the Battle of the Hydaspes, the two kings face to face: while Porus is about to complete Alexander, he sees the band at his own wrist and holds it off. Porous lose the battle; Alexander leave it in place by giving it the status of dominion.
The festival is held on the full moon day of the month of Shraavana, the fifth month of the Hindu calendar. Based on the Gregorian calendar in force in most countries of the world, the month of Shraavana is the period between the end of July and the third week of August.
A few days before Raksha Bandhan, Indian girls buy or make themselves the famous bracelet that they will offer the boys, with the teenager or the man chosen. The boys also play the game and seek a more elaborate gift bracelet, an object symbolizing brotherly love they have for the girl, the young woman or the woman in question (clothes, cards, money). Raksha Bandhan is celebrated by all generations; in some areas it is even more practiced by children.
The day of the ceremony, boy and girl finds herself in the presence of all members of both families with parents, grandparents, cousins, etc. The boy and girl face a diya that is traditionally lit in between to symbolize the goddess of fire. The ritual ceremony begins with the gift of a holy strap that the girl attaches in the wrist of the boy. By this gesture, it reflects sincere friendship and request his protection and dedicates a prayer of love, happiness and protection. In return, the boy agrees to protect the rest of his life, whatever the circumstances.
When the prayer end, the girl applies a tilak on the boy's forehead. She will then directly feed the boy in the mouth by offering desserts, traditional pastries and dried fruit. Then comes the turn of the boy to offer the gift to his sister usually sweets, clothes or money. He will also directly feed the girl. The ritual ends with a hug between two young people. The family congratulates the boy and the girl and commemorates their friendship with a feast.
The Rakhi, the sacred band on the wrist of the boy will rest for the day. While Rakhi is traditionally celebrated between young people of the same family, mostly cousins, this religious festival has been secularized and multi-culturalized. The festival now is an opportunity for remote families to meet, but also to pacify relations with neighbors. Indian young generations more practice with friends.
In a conservative society like India, the bracelet justifies the relationship between a young boy and a girl who can then move together in a public place. This festival symbolizes the fraternal ties and love that unite brothers and sisters is celebrated during the full moon period (Purnima).
According to the ritual that originated in ancient literary works, girls and women married knot right wrist of their brothers the rakhi (multicolored cords assorted symbols of Hindu gods). This gesture is a symbol of love, respect and protection for Brother must renew his promise to always protect her sister in all circumstances. It is a relationship based on mutual trust, friendship and unity. The sisters pray for their brothers are protected from any obstacle. This protection node is to keep away evil spirits and ensure the protection of the law. The sister began the ritual by the aarti.
She applies the chandan on the forehead before him to tie the bracelet. Then there is a momentum for a common faith, and various religious hymns recited on this occasion reflect a mutual love. Sweets and other gifts exchanged during the ritual add to the spiritual and folkloric dimension of this festival.
Hindu priests, given the excessive commercialization of rakhis, recommended the traditional sutha used as amulet since the time of the Vedas. The festival also symbolizes love, brotherhood, devotion, mutual respect between brother and sister.
On the day, radio stations broadcast throughout the day songs and music focused on Raksha Bandhan. The two most famous songs to be broadcast are Phoolon ka taaron ka, sabka kehna hai. Ek hazaaron mein, meri behna hai by Kishore Kumar, Pyar Ka Bhai Bahen by Mohammad Rafi from the film Rakhi and Bhaiyya Mere Choti Behan Ko Na Bhulana from Chhoti Bahen.