Let the sibling rivalry cease; it is time for Raksha Bandhan. This Hindu holiday is a celebration of the loving relationship between a brother and sister. Raksha Bandhan takes place each year on the full moon day in the month of Shravan. This year, the holiday falls on Wednesday, August 21.
On Raksha Bandhan, sisters tie holy threads, called rakhis, around their brothers' wrists. The rakhi is a symbol of a sister's love for her brother and her prayers for his well being. Brothers vow to protect their sisters and often give them gifts on Raksha Bandhan. A common mantra spoken by a sister for the rakhi-tying ritual is:
The sun radiates its sunlight, the radish spreads its seeds,
I tie the rakhi to you, O brother, and wish that you may live long.
I tie on you the rakhi that was tied to king Bali, the king of Demons,
O Rakhi, I pray that you never falter in protecting your devotee.
At times, Raksha Bandhan is celebrated between non-siblings. Rakhis may be given to cousins, close friends, and neighbors, and are even exchanged among political rulers as a symbol of brotherhood. Some Jains, Sikhs, and Muslims celebrate Raksha Bandhan with their Hindu neighbors.
Keep reading for instructions for making your own rakhi.