In a family, the relationship between sisters and brother is very strong. It is usually seen the siblings fight most than friends in the childhood for silly things but when they grow-up; both develop a caring attitude for each other. This pure bond of love and affection between brother and sister is the deepest and noblest of human emotions.
Raksha Bandhan is the Hindi name of the festival which means the bond of protection. On this day, sister usually dressed in Indian attires, put tilak (mark) on brother’s forehead with roli (red colour) added with raw rice, then she tie a Rakhi, a holy thread, on his wrist and pray for his long and happy life. The brother in return offers gift to his sister and vows to look after her. The Hindus believe that the Rakhi protects from all kind of sins. This tradition of tying Rakhi has been celebrated since the ancient Vedic times.
The people, who do not belong to India, can call Raksha Bandhan “the sister-brother day”. This is a Hindu festival which celebrates the relationship of brother and sister. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Shraavana (The people who do not understand Hindu calendar, they can check the date of Raksha Bandhan in any Indian calendar, as it falls on different date every year).
There are many stories regarding the origin of this festival, According to one of the legends, Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yamuna. Yamuna tied a holy thread to Yama’s wrist and bestowed immortality. Yama was so moved by the serenity of the occasion that he declared that whoever gets a rakhi tied from his sister and promised her protection will become immortal.
According to another legend, Rani Karnavati of Chittor sent a rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun with a request for protecting her when she was threatened by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Humayun carried out his sacred brotherly duty and protected her from the trouble.
Raksha Bandhan is a divine festival. It is not necessary that the Rakhi can be tied only to a brother by birth; any male whether he is a cousin or neighbour or a good friend can be "adopted" as a brother by tying a Rakhi.
Modern Rakhis are decorated with soft silky threads of various colors, and also with ornaments, pictures, gold and silver threads etc. In fact, the fashionable friendship band in vogue has become an extension of the Rakhi custom.Children also purchase Rakhis with their favourite superheroes.
The sisters and brothers, who are away from each other due to any reason, send Rakhis and gifts to each other through post and even through internet.