Raksha Bandhan, (the bond of protection), or Rakhi, is a festival primarily observed in India, which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. It is also called Rakhi Purnima in certain parts of India, like the south. The festival is observed by Hindus and Jains. The central ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on her brother's wrist. This symbolizes the sister's love and prayers for her brother's well-being, and the brother's lifelong vow to protect her. The festival falls on the full moon day (Shravan Poornima) of the Shravan month of the Hindu lunisolar calendar. It grew in popularity after Rani Karnavati, the widowed queen of Chittor, sent a rakhi to the Mughal emperor Humayun when she required his help.
A Rakhi tied on the wrist.
The festival is marked by the tying of a rakhi, or holy thread, which comes in many colors and designs , 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 as she presents sweets to him. The brother usually presents his sister with an envelope filled with money however, other presents such as saris and clothing can be given. The brother and sister traditionally feed one another sweets. These sweets include anything from Jalebi, Kaju Katli, and Burfi. Since north Indian kinship practices give cousins a status similar to siblings, girls and women often tie the rakhi to their male cousins as well (referred to as "cousin-brothers" in regional parlance) in several communities. Unrelated boys and men who are considered to be brothers (munh-bola bhai or adopted brothers) can be tied rakhis, provided they commit to a lifelong obligation to provide protection to the woman or girl.