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Brothers and sisters will bond on Raksha Bandhan

On August 13, the moon will be full and many Indian people will observe Raksha Bandhan, a festival to celebrate the bonds between brothers and sisters. On this special day, sisters tie sacred threads called Rakhi around their brothers’ wrists to symbolize their love for their siblings.

In return for their sisters’ love, prayers and devotion, brothers make lifelong vows to protect them. They give their sisters gifts while the girls feed their brothers sweets. Some families also honor the connection between male and female cousins in the same way. Many people will send money to India to help their families get everything they need for the celebrations.

Raksha Bandhan, which means “knot of protection,” originated more than 6,000 years ago, and the holiday crops up in many historical and religious tales.

One legend has it that Lord Krishna was injured while trying to protect good people from an evil ruler, King Shisupal. Draupathi, the wife of the five pandavas, tore off a piece of her silk sari and bound it around the wrist of the Hindu deity. Her kindness and love moved him so much that he declared her his sister and swore to protect and repay her.

Many years later, Draupathi’s husbands bet her in a dice game and lost. Kauravas, the man who won her, tried to remove her sari, but Krishna made the fabric so long that no matter how much the kauravas unwound her, he could not reach the end.

Perhaps one of the most iconic stories of Raksha Bandhan is the tale of Rani Karnawati and Emporer Humayun, according to Raksha-Bandhan.com. During medieval times, India was at war and Rani Karnawati was the widow of the king of Chittor. Realizing that without her late husband, the Rani would have difficulty protecting her kingdom against invasion, she sent a Rakhi to Emporer Humayan. The emporer, touched by her gesture, sent his troops to her aid right away.

These days, the Rakhi festival is a time of happiness and family togetherness. Women spend a lot of time preparing for the festivities, buying new clothes, Rakhis, sweets, gifts and food for the big day, which is why many will send money to India for their loved ones.

On the day itself, families don their best clothes and, after honoring their gods, the ceremonial tying of the Rahki and presentation of gifts commences. Once the formalities are over, the parties begin and families and friends gather to dance, eat and revel in each other’s company.

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