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Raksha Bandhan (the bond of protection) is a Hindu festival, which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. It is celebrated on the full moon of the month of Shravana.
The festival is marked by the tying of a rakhi, or holy thread by the sister on the wrist of her brother. The brother in return offers a gift to his sister and vows to look after her. Swets are exchanged. Indian history is replete with women asking for protection, through rakhi, from men who were neither their brothers, nor Hindus themselves. Rani Karnavati of Chittaur sent a rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun when she was threatened by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Humayun abandoned an ongoing military campaign to rescue her.
The rakhi may also be tied on other special occasions to show solidarity as was done during the Indian independence movement.
According to legend the Demon King Bali was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu had taken up the task to guard his kingdom leaving his own abode in Vaikuntha. Goddess Lakshmi wished Lord back to his abode. She went to Bali disguised as a Brahmin woman to seek refuge till her husband came back.
During the Shravan Poornima celebrations, Lakshmi tied the sacred thread to the King. Upon being asked she revealed who she was and why she was there. The king was touched and sacrificed all he had for the Lord Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi.
Thus the festival is also called Baleva that is Bali’s devotion to the Lord. It is said that since then it has been a tradition to invite sisters on Shravan Poornima for the Raksha Bandhan.
According to another legend, Raksha Bandhan was a ritual related to Lord Yama and his sister Yamuna. Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and bestowed immortality. Yama was so moved by the serenity of the occasion that he declared that whoever gets a rakhi tied from his sister and promised her protection will become immortal.
In western India and parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Goa this day is celebrated as Nariyal Poornima. On this day an offering of a coconut (nariyal) is made to the sea, as a mark of respect to Lord Varuna, the water-god. Nariyal Poornima marks the beginning of the fishing season and the fishermen, who depend on the sea livelihood, make an offering to Lord Varuna so that they can reap bountiful fish from the sea.
In central parts of India such as Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkand and Bihar this day is celebrated as Kajari Purnima. It is an important day for the farmers and women blessed with a son. On the ninth day after Shravana Amavasya, the preparations of the Kajari festival start. This ninth day is called Kajari Navami and varied rituals are performed by women who have sons until Kajri Poornima or the full moon day.

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