Raksha Bandhan is a popular and traditionally Hindu annual rite or ceremony that is central to a festival of the same name celebrated in South Asia. It is also celebrated in other parts of the world significantly influenced by Hindu culture. On this day, sisters of all ages tie a talisman or amulet called the Rakhi around the wrists of their brothers. They symbolically protect them, receive a gift in return, and traditionally invest the brothers with a share of the responsibility of their potential care.
Raksha Bandhan is observed on the last day of the Hindu lunar calendar month of Shraavana, which typically falls in August. The expression “Raksha Bandhan” (Sanskrit, literally, “the bond of protection, obligation, or care,”) is now principally applied to this ritual. Until the mid-20th century, the expression was more commonly applied to a similar ritual, also held on the same day, with precedence in ancient Hindu texts.
In that ritual, a domestic priest ties amulets, charms, or threads on the wrists of his patrons, or changes their sacred thread, and receives gifts of money. This is still the case in some places. By contrast, the sister-brother festival, with origins in folk culture, had names which varied with location. Some were rendered as Saluno, Silono, and Rakri. A ritual associated with Saluno included the sisters placing shoots of barley behind the ears of their brothers.
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