Wednesday, Aug 23rd

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Raksha Bandhan

Raksha BandhanRaksha bandhan is a unique festival that celebrates the loving bond between brother and sister. It is celebrated on Sravan (Shravan) Poornima or the full moon in the month of Shravan. Sisters tie silk thread or rakhi on the wrists of their brother. The brother in turn promises to protect and honor his sister. According to Hindu Mythology there was a battle between gods and demons, and Indra (the king of the gods) was defeated by the demons and he was totally shattered. At that time on advice of Guru Brihaspati, (the guru of Devtas) Indra's wife Sachi took a silken thread, popularly known as 'Raksha' and charged it with sacred verses for protection and tied it on Indra's wrist. As a result the strength of the sacred thread helped Indra conquered his enemies. Since then till today this festival is celebrated. It is considered as gesture of goodwill and protection.
It is not necessary that the rakhi be given only to a blood brother; any male can be "adopted" as a brother by tying a rakhi on the person, irrespective of whether he is cousin or a good friend. Indian history is replete with women asking for protection, through rakhi, from men who were neither their brothers, nor Hindus themselves.
The story of Rani Karnavati of Chittor and Mughal Emperor Humayun is the most significant evidence of this in history. During the medieval era, around the 15th century, there were many wars between the Rajputs, Mughals and Sultans. Rakhi at that time meant a spiritual binding and the protection of sisters was foremost. When Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of the king of Chittor realised that she could in no way defend the invasion of the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, she sent a rakhi to Emperor Humayun. The Emperor was so touched by the gesture, that he abandoned an ongoing military campaign to ride to her rescue.

This day is also celebrated as “Narali Purnima” or the coconut festival. Fishermen offer a coconut to the sea and pray for bountiful catch. This also marks the end of monsoon in Maharashtra and the beginning of a new season of catch for the fishermen. Desserts made out of coconut are a special attraction of this festival. Here’s a recipe for coconut barfi.