Indian Arts and Culture Hinduism The Real Reason for the Hindu Raksha Bandhan Celebration Share Flipboard Email Print Neha Gupta / Getty Images Hinduism Indian Arts and Culture India Past and Present Important Texts Temples and Organizations Hindu Gods Hindu Gurus and Saints By Subhamoy Das M.A., English Literature, University of North Bengal Subhamoy Das is the co-author of "Applied Hinduism: Ancient Wisdom for Today's World." He has written several books about Hinduism for children and young adults. our editorial process Subhamoy Das Updated March 04, 2018 Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is an auspicious event in the Hindu calendar when siblings celebrate their love and respect for one another. It celebrated most commonly in India and it is observed on different dates each year, based on the Hindu lunar calendar. Rakhi Celebration During Raksha Bandhan, a sister ties a sacred thread (called a rakhi) around her brother's wrist and prays that he will live a long, healthy life. In return, a brother bestows gifts upon his sister and vows to honor and protect her always, no matter the circumstances. Rakhi can be celebrated between non-siblings as well, such as cousins or even friends, or any male-female relationship that is one of value and respect. The rakhi thread maybe just a few simple silk strands or it may be elaborately braided and embellished with beads or charms. As with the Christian holiday of Christmas, shopping for a rakhi in the days and weeks leading up to the festival is a major event in India and other large Hindu communities. When Is It Observed? Like other Hindu holy days and celebrations, Rakhi's date is determined by the lunar cycle, rather than the Gregorian calendar used in the West. The holiday occurs on the night of the full moon in the Hindu lunar month of Shraavana (sometimes called Sravana), which typically falls between late July and late August. Shraavana is the fifth month in the 12-month Hindu calendar. Based on the lunisolar cycle, each month begins on the day of the full moon. For many Hindus, it is a month for fasting to honor the deities Shiva and Parvati. Raksha Bandhan Dates Here are the dates for Raksha Bandhan for 2018 and beyond: 2018: Saturday, August 252019: Wednesday, August 142020: Monday, August 32021: Saturday, August 212022: Thursday, August 112023: Wednesday, August 232024: Monday, August 192025: Friday, August 82026: Thursday, August 272027: Monday, August 162028: Friday, August 42029: Thursday, August 232030: Monday, August 12 Historical Roots There are a couple different legends of how Raksha Bandhan began. One story attributes it to a 16th-century queen named Rani Karnavati, who ruled in the Indian state of Rajasthan. According to legend, Karnavati's lands were threatened by invaders who were sure to overwhelm her troops. So she sent a rakhi to a neighboring ruler, Humayun. He answered her appeal and sent troops, saving her lands. From that day on, Humayun and Rani Karnavat were united spiritually as brother and sister. There is some historical truth in the story of Rani Karnavati; she was a real queen in the city of Chittorgarh. But according to scholars, her kingdom was overrun and defeated by the invaders. Another legend is told in the Bhavishya Purana, a holy Hindu text. It tells the story of the deity Indra, who was battling demons. When it appeared that he would be defeated, his wife Indrani tied a special thread to his wrist. Inspired by her gesture, Indra was energized and fought until the demons were vanquished.