With Rakhi just around the corner, it's that time of the year again - brothers are on the hunt for the perfect gift while sisters are looking for the ideal rakhi and waiting for their exciting presents.
We've all celebrated this joyous festival for years and years. During childhood, it is a day that is looked forward to for its gifts and delicacies. Growing up, it's more about getting to go home and spending time with family. All in all, this festival is one that we all talk about while discussing our heritage and where we come from.
But do you know everything there is to know about this occasion? Why is it celebrated? What are the legends associated with it? Read all about Raksha Bandhan in our FAQ compilation below:
Q. When is Rakhi celebrated?
Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on the occasion of Sharva Poornima every year which typically falls on the day of a full moon in the month of August.
Q. When is Rakhi this year?
A. In 2020, Rakhi will fall on Monday, 3rd of August.
Q. Why is Rakhi celebrated?
A. The eternal love between a brother and a sister is the essence of this festival. The bond between a brother and a sister is priceless. Siblings are your best friends by birth, they are one of your first human personal diaries and your best advisor in the hour of need. Known as 'Raksha Bandhan', the word 'Raksha' means protection and the word 'Bandhan' stands for bond. On this occasion, a sister ties a rakhi on her brother's wrist. This Rakhi is a sacred thread and it signifies her wishes for his prosperity and happiness.
The festival of Raksha Bandhan tends to reflect on the very same bitter-sweet relationship between a brother and sister. Protection and love are at the heart of this festival. We celebrate Raksha Bandhan to honour the same bond that a brother and a sister share between them.
Q. How did the festival of Rakhi come about to be?
Interestingly, there are several narratives on how the tradition of Raksha Bandhan initially began, but one of the most followed tales is the one of Lord Indra and his wife Indrani.
As per Hindu mythology, once the group of Gods were on the verge of defeat in their war against the demons. Distressed, Lord Indra approached his Guru, Brihaspati for advice. At this, Guru Brihaspati asked him to get a Rakhi tied on his wrist by his wife Indrani.
As said, Indrani tied the sacred amulet on Lord Indra’s wrist as a symbol of protection against all harm and thus began the tradition of Raksha Bandhan.
Q. What is the legend of Indra Deva associated with the festival Rakhi?
A) There are a number of legends associated with this holy occasion. Among these, one of the most popular ones is the story of Indra Deva. It is said that during the war between God and the demons, Indra was disgraced by demon King Bali. For Indra, the god of the sky and rain, this was a major downfall.
So, his wife Sachi consulted Vishnu. He, in turn, gave Sachi a bracelet of thread and deemed it holy. Sachi then tied this on Indra's wrist and blessed him. Consequently, Indra was able to flawlessly defeat evil and retrieve all that had been lost. This is one of the first ancient texts that suggested that Rakhi threads have protective power. It also points out how women used these to guard men going to war and how Rakhi threads are not exclusive to just brother-sister bonds.
Q. How was Rakhi initially promoted in the modern era?
Rakhi was promoted by Rabindranath Tagore, to promote peace and harmony between communities - during the time India was ruled by the British empire. For him, it was more than a symbol of love between siblings. It was a celebration of humanity, responsibility and fellow concern.
Back in 1905, when the British Empire decided to divide the state of Bengal on the basis of caste and religion, Tagore made arrangements for the celebration of Rakhi in order to strengthen the bond between Hindus and Muslims asking them to unite and fight against the British.
According to him, the essence of Raksha Bandhan went beyond blood relations and was all togetherness barring the concepts of caste and religion.
Q. Since when has Rakhi been celebrated?
A) One of the oldest references of Rakhi goes back to 300 BC, during the time when India had been invaded by Alexander. It is said that King Puru was furious about the conquest and so, Roxana, the wife of Alexander sent a sacred thread or a rakhi to King Puru, thereby requesting him to not to hurt her husband in battle.
Puru, in turn, abided by this and even during the war did not lay a finger on Alexander because of the rakhi on his own wrist. However, there are a number of historical references that have been made to Rakhi- some even during the era of Mahabharata! It is tough to pinpoint exactly when this joyous occasion originated.
Q. Is the festival of Rakhi known by any other names?
A) Within India itself, Rakhi is known by different names. With different regions and different languages, people know of Rakhi by regional names of the festival. For instance, in North as well as West India, the celebration is referred to as "Rakhi Purnima".
Meanwhile, in South India, it is often called 'Avani Avittam' or 'Upakarmam'. In the region of the Western Ghats, the festival is known as 'Nariyal Purnima'. The word nariyal, which means coconut, stands to denote the coconut -like full moon in Maharashtra.
All of Central India mainly celebrates the joyous occasion of Rakhi as "Kajari Purnima". Raksha Bandhan is celebrated by the name of Pavitrapana in the western parts of India. In the regions of North India, mostly Jammu, it is quite common to fly kites on the nearby occasions of Janamashtami and Raksha Bandhan. In Odisha and West Bengal, this auspicious day is often called 'Jhulan Purnima' too.
Q. What happens on the day of Rakhi?
A) On the morning of this holy day, the members of the household tend to get up early and set about with preparation for the rest of the day. The ritual begins with the lighting of a diya. An entire Rakhi Thali is prepared. Once the aarti is done, usually with the help of the rakhi thali, the sister ties a rakhi on her brother's wrist.
She applies a tilak too on his forehead. Finally, the sister then feeds the brother, with her hands, different types of sweets and dry fruits.
Q. How has Raksha Bandhan changed over the years?
A) Today, we are living in a society which is at the peak of feminism and modernity. Therefore, with changing times the traditions have changed as well. Back then, protection was a one-sided entity but today it has evolved into a larger and wider concept. Today, the sisters pledge to protect their brothers as well in general and particularly on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, the brothers now also get pampered with gifts.
This does not just show how roles of a woman have evolved over time, but also how empowerment of women has redefined relationships. Also, in the current scenario, the very way the women want to be protected and want to feel safe has changed as well. They no longer want to be protected physically, but want their brothers to uphold their sense of individuality and freedom and help them grow.
In this era of technology, festivals often tend to become digitalised too. Same applies to the festival of Rakhi. With people moving across globes and getting settled in countries apart from their family, it is not possible for everyone to come together to celebrate Raksha Bandhan. It is very saddening how people who celebrated this festival together since they were a small kid are now miles apart dealing with their careers and private life.
When work and family are at stake it becomes difficult to prioritise between one of these. But thanks to technology! Perhaps, one of the perks of living in a technologically advanced society is that everyone is a click away.
Your brother or sister might be oceans away but tying rakhi virtually and sending greetings and blessing from a screen away is always possible now. In short, technology has helped a lot in the preservation of family traditions and celebrations and has also enabled people to strike the right balance between the two most important part of their life - career and family.
Q. What should I gift on Raksha Bandhan?
A. Living far off could no longer be an excuse in terms of gifting. with the emergence of online gifting websites that give you a wide range of options to choose from. They also deliver the package at the doorstep at the requested date and time.
Gifts, of all sorts, never fail to make us happy. But when you are gifting someone who means so much to you, why not let it reflect on your present itself? Maybe, by gifting something that describes the person, something that would make the person smile every time they look at it or maybe something that they would utilise in their day to day life. The options are never-ending. But fret not - Bigsmall has a vast variety of creative gifts and unique gifts, and both - rakhi gifts for your brother and your sister.
Q. What are the best Rakhi gifts for a sister who just got married?
A) A sister who has gotten married recently would love gifts for her new home, wouldn’t she? This Beating Heart Wall Clock would be just right to fit in with the décor of her new place. And this LED Lamp or Eiffel Tower Bottle Lamp would make her room glow with the softest, calming light and give her room a whole new, lovely appearance!
She'd think of you every time while turning these lamps on. This adorable, compact and one of a kind Tea Pot Set would bring a huge smile to you sisters face! It is cute to look it, it stays compact and there is no risk of the cups falling and breaking and it comes with the most elegant tray!
Your sister-in-law is just as much your sister. Don't worry - we've got the best collection of Rakhi Gifts for Bhaiya Bhabhi too. If your bhabhi likes all things cute, she has to like pandas. And if she is a fan of these soft, lovable animals, she needs this handcrafted panda rug! Check out our article on Rakhi gifts for your married sister.
Q. Can rakhis be handmade?
A) Most definitely! Today, it is of utmost importance to add a personal touch while gifting. What is a better way to do so when one can mould a beautiful, loving rakhi by their own hands? A handmade rakhi is sure to be one that will be cherished by you brother for the years to come.
Q. Are rakhis tied to women too or are they only for brothers?
A) Mainly in the region of Rajasthan, there is a practice of 'Lumba Rakhi', where one ties a rakhi on the wrist of their sisters-in-law. These rakhis tend to be more feminine and complement the traditional Indian attire of Rajasthani women. This practice is seen in parts of Gujarat as well. However, in families with only daughters, sisters often tie rakhis on each other's wrists too. After all, who says only brothers have to protect you?
Q. Which countries, apart from India, celebrate Rakhi?
A) Along with a major part of India, Rakhi is also celebrated in Nepal & Mauritius. The Indians residing in countries like Canada, Australia, USA and UK also celebrate this festival, making its essence travel across borders.
Q. What are the best Rakhi gifts for a younger sister who's in college?
A) At Bigsmall, we have a number of products that would charm your sister! If she's the kind who aspires to travel and experience all kinds of adventure, this 365 Bucket List Gift Box, as well as this Travel Journal, will definitely leave her elated. If she's the type of girl whose idea of a good time is curling up with a good book, she needs to have this hands-free book holder! Why not get this adorable mermaid blanket to add more comfort and ease to her book reading experience?
If you have an even younger sister - fret not. We've also got something for those little bundles of enthusiasm - check out our collection of unique gifts for kids.
Q. Is Rakhi celebrated by religions other than Hinduism as well?
A) Absolutely! Rakhi is a secular festival. It is common in today's age to see people across different religions tying rakhis to each other. The festival of Raksha Bandhan is prevalent in Jain culture too. Jain priests give sacred threads to devotees. Even in the Sikh community, 'rakhadhi' plays a significant role.
In fact, in Nepal, where Raksha Bandhan is known as 'Janai Purnima' or 'Rishitarpani', the ceremony of tying the sacred thread or Rakhi is undertaken by both Hindus as well as Buddhists. If your sister loves all things that are rosy and pink, read our article on 10 Unique Rakhi Gifts for your Sister who Loves Everything PINK.
Q. I stay abroad. This Rakhi, how can I send Rakhi Gifts to my sibling in India?
A) At Bigsmall, we can help you find the greatest gifting ideas for your sibling. Based on their age or their type of personality or even her passion, we have a ton of products to offer.
Once you're done choosing the perfect gift, just order it online, fill in the address and leave the rest to us. We accept international cards - so you don't have to worry about payment gateways. It will reach directly to your sibling's doorstep without a hassle.
With our simple order and delivery processes, rest assured that your gift will reach your sister sibling and secure and right on time for Rakhi! Get your brother or sister the most unique, problem-solving products at Bigsmall.in! Read our article on 6 Real Life Problem Solving Rakhi Gifts for your Sister.
Q. I live overseas, how can I send rakhi to my brother in India?
In the days of yore, this would be a significant problem. However, in 2018, it's easy - order a rakhi online and have it delivered to your brother’s doorstep.
Your brother’s bored of the generic, boring old rakhis. Bigsmall has you covered there too - just like everything else, we take Rakhis out of the box too. Check out our collection of super cool, unique Rakhis which will accurately depict your relation with your brother.
Q. Is the legend of Yama that is associated with the festival Rakhi?
A) In common folklore, it is often spoken of Yama, the god of death. It is said that he hadn't paid a visit to his sister, Yamuna, who in turn was miserable and consulted Yama. Ganga then reminded Yama of his sister and he visited her.
She was delighted to see him and prepared a scrumptious meal for him and wished that he would come and visit her again soon. Utterly touched by his sister's love, he made the river Yamuna immortal so that he could see her again. However, this legend is associated with Bhai Duj, a festival quite similar to Rakhi, that is celebrated around the time of Diwali.
Q. What makes Rakhi special?
A) One of the main aspects that sets Rakhi apart from the big number of other Indian festivals is the fact that there are no boundaries when it comes to region or religion when this joyous occasion is being celebrated.
It brings together men and women who don’t always have to be related by blood to feel like family and it promotes harmony, peace, love and care between individuals. Apart from that, it is a day looked forward to by millions, a day of meeting one's family after weeks or months and getting to spend time with them. And the gifting as well as gift receiving, of course, adds to its charm!
Q. What are some interesting historical references made to Rakhi?
A) For centuries, the sacred thread or rakhi has stood for protection and safety.
Another famous tale comes from Mahabharata - which says that once Lord Krishna cut his finger and it started to bleed. Draupadi, in response, tore a small piece of cloth from her saree and tied it on Krishna’s finger. Lord Krishna in turn promised to protect Draupadi thereafter. Hence, the reason behind why Lord Krishna appeared to save Draupadi’s pride when she was being harassed by the Kauravas.
Another popular reference is the tale of the Mughal emperor Humayun and Rani Karnavati from the Rajputs. In the medieval era, when the Rajputs were fighting off the invasions of the Mughals, the widowed Queen Karnavati of Chittor was brought to the realisation that she was powerless against the might of the Mughals. In an effort to bring about peace and harmony, she sent a rakhi to the powerful emperor and he was so moved by this simple gesture that he immediately ordered his troops to fight for the queen and together went to her fort in an attempt to keep her safe.
Q. Are rakhis tied only to family members?
A) No, rakhis are not exclusively tied only to brothers or male cousins. Today, rakhis are tied to people one knows from the neighbourhood, close family friends and sisters-in-law. It is a way of building love between people and wishing well for them. Every year, there are a number of people who tie rakhis to policemen, priests and so on as well.
Q. Where can I find the best Rakhi gifts to buy for my sister online?
A) At Bigsmall.in. In, you can get some of the coolest and most creative, funky gifts for your sister or sisters! Whether you're looking to really show how much you appreciate her, you want to buy her something you know she would get a lot of use out of, you want to get her a sort of collectible if she is a fan of a particular show or movie or you want to get her a funny gift that would leave her chuckling- we've got all kinds of amazing gifting ideas. If you enjoy poking fun at your sister, check out our article on 7 Funny Rakhi Gifts to Tease your Sister.
Q. Do Muslims and Christians celebrate Rakhi too?
A) Yes. A number of members of the Muslim and Christian communities take part in the celebration of Rakhi and look at it as a festival that transcends different religions and cultures. Every year, there are lots of Muslims and Christians who tie Rakhis to others or get tied Rakhis by other friends or sisters.
Q. Is there a tale of the God Ganesh related to Rakhi?
A) Yes, there is a story about Ganesh in relation to Rakhi. Here is how it goes. The Hindu god, Ganesh, was a father to two boys- Shubh and Labh. On Rakhi, these two little boys were extremely frustrated and upset about how they didn’t have a sister who could tie rakhis to their wrists.
So, they asked their father for a sister but he didn’t comply with their wishes. However, when the saint Narada appeared, he convinced Ganesh that having a daughter would only enrich his life as well the lives of his sons. So, Ganesh finally agrees and created his own daughter by holy flames that emerged from his wives Riddhi and Siddhi. The daughter was named Santoshi Ma.
Q. What are the best Rakhi gifts for a sister who's always travelling?
A) If you have a sister who is pretty much always on the go and off to visit a new city or a country every time you talk to her, this power nap pillow is just what she needs. It is plush and will let her nap easily anytime, anywhere- whether it's on a busy flight or a bustling train! It works perfectly well in blocking out external disturbances and will aid your sister to get her beauty sleep. If she enjoys trekking and goings on hikes, this inflatable air couch is a must have!
She can carry it around easily, it is lightweight and does not create any nuisance. And she won't even have to spend time blowing into it to inflate it! All one has to do is swing this inflatable air couch and voila, it gets inflated on its own! These travel storage bags too would help her to pack light and pack well for her next voyage.
And saving the best for last...this scratch world map is probably the best present for anyone who loves travel and adventure! It is a huge map that has the entire world's countries marked on it. Once your sister has visited a new country, she can come back and scratch that portion of the map, to reveal a vibrant colour underneath! Each continent has a different colour too. This would be perfect for her to record her travels and keep all the good times she's had close to her heart.
We hope this was an interesting and informative read for you. Browse our collection of the coolest Rakhi Gifts on Bigsmall.in!
If you need advice for gifting ideas, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us on our Facebook page or our Instagram handle. Our team will reach out to you as soon as possible.