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Legends and Lore of Rakhi festival

Many legends and myths surround the festival of Rakshabandhan. The festival is celebrated on Shravan Poornima, and some of the tales highlight the origins and date of the celebration. There is the tale of Lord Indra and his wife Indrani, and also that of Yama the god of death and his sister Yamuna. Another tale associated with the date of the celebration is that of King Bali and the Goddess Laxmi.

There are always legends and myths attached to almost every traditional festival in the country. And with the rich pantheon of deities in the country, some of the most popular stories around the festival of Rakshabandhan involve gods and goddesses. Rakshabandhan is celebrated on Shravan Poornima, the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Shravana and some of the tales highlight the origins and date of the celebration.

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For instance, in the story of Lord Indra and his wife Indrani, there was once a fight between the gods and demons on a Shravan Poornima. The demons were the stronger of the lot and having the upper hold in the battle much to the frustration and worry of Indra. The lady Indrani on seeing the consternation upon her husband’s face prepared a thread of silk with her power of mantra. She tied the talisman around Indra’s right wrist which protected Indra in the battle and thus was able to defeat the demons. The custom of tying Rakhi on Shravan Poornima is considered to have been derived from this although there is also another story involving Yama the god of death and his sister Yamuna.

The third tale associated with the date of the festival is that of the Demon King Bali and the Goddess Laxmi. According to the legend Lord Indra became jealous of the King Bali who was growing in power and strength. He requested the Lord Vishnu for help and Vishnu disguised as Vamana dethroned Bali. In the process Lord Vishnu granted him immortality and took up the task of guarding Bali’s life for which he had to leave his own abode in Vaikunth. After a while Goddess Laxmi began to miss her husband. She disguised herself as a Brahmin woman and tied a rakhi to Bali during the Shravan Poornima celebrations. Upon being asked for a return gift Laxmi revealed her true identity and purpose. Bali being an honorable king immediately forsakes everything and requested Vishnu to return with Laxmi back to their abode. Bali sacrificed all he had in his devotion for the Lord and his wife. That is the reason why people also call the festival as Baleva meaning Bali Raja’s devotion to the Lord. It is also from this tale that the tradition of inviting sisters at Shravan Poornima for Raksha Bandhan started. And to this day people tie rakhi on Shravana Poornima.

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On the day of the festival sisters tie the rakhi on the wrists of not only their brothers but also on neighbors, relatives, friends or anyone whom they consider as brothers as it is considered that when a lady ties a rakhi on the wrists of any male, he becomes honor bound to treat her like a real sister and also safeguard her from all harm. People celebrate Rakshabandhan with lots of enthusiasm and joy. It is also a tradition to celebrate rakhi with sweets and people exchange rakhi sweets with each other as a token of goodwill and best wishes. Nowadays in this modern age of the internet, one can find a whole lot of rakhi sweets online for the occasion. Many internet gift portals provide delivery services of rakhi with chocolates online which anyone can order right from the comfort of home.

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