In this land of varying cultures and traditions, festival form an integral part of the lives of the people here. For the same reason India is often termed as the “Land of Festivals”. There are festivals celebrated here for every occasion. Every season and every state has their own festivals that are celebrated at different times throughout the year. People are seen to take part in the celebrations and rejoicings, irrespective of the caste, creed, age and status. India is a secular country and hence the festivals of various religions are celebrated with the same zeal and enthusiasm throughout the country. During various festivals travelers from all over the country and the world are found to visit and take part in the festivals actively. The different festivals and rituals not only depict the rich cultural heritage of the country but they also symbolize the integrity and unity of the whole nation.
In the country of India, where family relationships are much cared for, there are also festivals that symbolize the love amongst the family. Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is one of the festivals of the kind. The festival is celebrated across the country mainly by the Hindus and the Sikhs and the festival marks the affection and love between brothers and sisters. The festival is celebrated in the Month of Sravan according to the lunar calendar and the exact dates are fixed by the movement of the moon. On the day sisters tie a thread around their brothers wrist and pray for their long lives, well being and happiness and the brothers take responsibility of their sisters and vow to protect them.
The festival owes its origin to various historic events and legends and is being celebrated since ancient times. It is said that the ritual of raksha bandhan was followed by Yamuna and his brother Lord Yama (God of Death). When Yamuna tied rakhi to Yamas wrist he was so moved that he declared immortality for anyone who gets tied rakhi from their sisters and vow to protect them. Other legends linked with the festival are that of Alexander the Great and Puru, Krishna and Draupadi, Goddess Lakhsmi and King Bali, Vritra and Indra and several others. The festival is celebrated all over the country with different names but the central idea however remains the same. It is celebrated as Rakhi Purnima in Northern and South India, as Nariyal Purnima in the western parts of the country, as Janyo Punyo in the state of Uttarkhand, as Kajari Purnima in the central parts of the country and as Pavitrapana in parts of Gujrat. Ceveral local rituals and ceremonies mark the celebrations in the various parts of the country.
In some of the southern and central parts of the country the ritual of Avani Avittam is also celebrated on this day.