Raksha Bandhan

               RAKSHA BANDHAN is called Avani Avittam in South India. This falls on the full moon day of the month of Sravan (August-September). It is an important Hindu festival. Hindus wear a new holy thread and offer libations of water to the ancient Rishis on this day.
               Raksha Bandhan is celebrated on Sravana Purnima every year. Hence, it is also known as Sravani. But, if one goes deep into the origin of the two festivals, Raksha Bandhan and Sravani are not one, but two distinct festivals.
               In Olden times, Raksha Bandhan was regarded as a festival of the Brahmins. On this day, Brahmins would change their old Yagnopavitam (sacred thread) for a new one. This ritual was performed on the bank of a river, or a pond, adjacent to the village. The priest, or purohit, solemnised it by mantras. The ceremony was also known as Upakarma Sanskara. In certain parts of the country, this ritual continues to this day.
               In the ancient times, Sravani used to be celebrated in gurukulas with great zeal and enthusiasm. A child started learning on the day of Sravani, i.e., he was admitted to a gurukula. It was known as Upanayana Sanskara. Another important function organised on this day in the gurukula was Samavartana, or the convocation ceremony. the disciples whose education was complete participated in the ceremony.
                Gradually, Upakarma, Upanayana and Samavartana functions were merged into Raksha Bandhan. Raksha Bandhan is colloquially known as the festival of rakhi. On this day sisters, tie rakhis on the wrists of their brothers. Days before Raksha Bandhan, colourful rakhis appear in the bazaars for sale.
                There is a pertinent story about Raksha Bandhan. Once ther was a pitched battle between the gods and the demons. The gods were on the verge of being defeated by the demons. This unnerved Indra, the Lord of gods. upon this, Indrani, his consort, made out a beautiful protective bracelet and tied it on the wrist of Indra. Coincidentally, it was the day of Sravana Purnima. Next day, Indra won the battle. Then on, this day acquired a special importance in the Hindu calendar.
                That is the story behind the Raksha Bandhan of today, with te only difference that now sisters tie rakhis on the wrists of their brothers. In both the contexts, the underlying feeling is that of protection. In villages, pandits and purohits(priests) tie rakhis on the wrists of their yajmanas(clients) and extract dakshina.