Raksha bandhan or Rakhi is a Hindu festival which celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. The literal meaning of the phrase Raksha Bandhan is 'the bond of protection'. Sisters tie a rakhi (a holy thread) around their brothers' wrists. The brother in return offers a gift to his sister and vows to look after her. This festival is typically an occasion for celebration by the whole family.
It is not necessary that the rakhi can be given only to a blood brother - any male can be "adopted" as a brother by tying a rakhi on the person. Indian history is replete with women asking for protection, through rakhi, from men who were neither their brothers, nor Hindus themselves. Rani Karnavati of Chittor sent a rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun when she was threatened by Bahadur Shah of Mewar. Humayun abandoned an ongoing military campaign to ride to her rescue.
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