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Janai Purnima

Janai Purnima is a greatest festival of Hindus. It is celebrated on the month of Shrawan or Bhadra. This day is also called as rakshyabandhan. It is a sacred thread festival. Hindu men, especially Brahmins and Chettris perform their annual exchange of Janai or sacred thread and put it around their body. In addition to this people also put a sacred theread around their wrist. Janai is a cotton string worn across the chest by Hindu male. Hindu male starts wearing this thread after a religious ceremony called Bratabandha. Bratabandha is a formal process of accepting someone in the religion. The janai initiates the boy into manhood and commands them to devotedly follow the religion and path of the truth. Janai should be worn every day of the life and the mantra should be enchanted everyday. Janai is considered as the symbol of body, speech and mind. Wearing the Janai means the knots are tied and person is supposed to gain complete control over them. Janai can be changed if it becomes old and dirty.

Meaning of Janai Purnima

Janai means sacred thread and Purnima is full moon. Janai Purnima is a festival to be celebrated in the full mood day of Shrawan or Bhadra month.

When is Janai Purnima Celebrated?

Janai Purnima is celebrated in the Shrawan or Bhadra month i.e August in english calendar.

How to celebrate Janai Purnima?

People take bath and make themselves clean on the day of Janai Purnima. People do fasting and take pure food i.e. no meat, no onions and garlic. Hindus take fasting to clean their body and eat satvic food for all ritual and festivals. They change Janai on the day of Janai Purnima. In addition priest visit home to home to put rakhsya bandhan on the wrist on the same day. In return priest is given some money as Dakshina or food stuffs like rice, lentils, salt etc.

Rakshya Bandhan

Rakshya means to Protect and bandhan is a bond. Rakshya bandhan is a bond of protection. Rakshya bandhan is the process of wearing holy thread around wrist by priest by chanting the mantra. Mantra in sanskrit is:

"एन बद्धु बलि राजा दानबिन्द्रो महावल
तेन त्वं बध नामी रक्षे मा चल मा चल"

Meaning of Mantra:

“I tie on you (the devotee) the raksha which was tied on Bali, the King of demons.
Therefore Oh Raksha! Do not ever fail to protect this devotee.”

Rakhi Bandhan

Another thing about this day is brother and sister tie a holy thread on their wrist for health and longevity of each other. This festival is similar to Bhai tika except it does not have to deal with tika. The brothers in return offers a gift to his sister and swears to look after her. Sisters gives presents like clothes, sweets etc to her brother.

Quati or Kwanti Purnima

On the day of Janaipurnima special dish called Kwanti is made. It is a curry of different mixture of beans. Newars worship frogs and offer them food items. They believe doing so will bring rainfall and increase the production of crops.

How Janai Purnima or Rakshya Bandhan got started?

There are many stories that indicates tradition of Janaipurnima and Rakshya bandhan:

1. Santoshi maa

When Lord Ganesha sister tied a rakhi on Ganesh's wrist his sons Shubh and Labh also wanted someone wear rakhi for them also. So they requested their father Ganesh and his two wives Riddhi and Siddhi to give them sisters. Ganesh agreed and created Santoshi Maa by devine flames emerged from Riddhi and Siddhi. From this incident there is said to tradition of rakhi started.

2. Krishna and Draupadi

Although Draupadi, wife of 5 pandavas, was not real sister of Lord Krishna she tied a strip of silk off her sari into the Krishna Wrist so that blood won't come out of battle field. Krishna was happy and declared to protect her. During cheer-haran Krishna indefinitely extended her saree through devine intervention, so she should have to be naked. In this way Lord Krishna paid the debt of Rakhi tied by Draupadi.

3. King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi

As the Lord Vishnu makes himself as door keeper of the King Bali Laxmi on Baikuntha become restless and changed her identity as Brahmen women and went to Bali palace. Bali heartly welcomed to her as sister. After her arrival the Bali palace became full of wealth and happiness. On the day of Purnima of Shrawan month Goddess Laxmi tied a thread to the King Bali and he became too much happy. King Bali asked in return and she said to return her husband door keeper. King Bali was surprised that her husband was doorkeeper. Then both of them reveal their identity and Bali let them go out from the palace. Hence, in order to commemorate Bali's devotion to the lord vishnu and his sister, this festival is also known as Baleva. Since then, brothers invite their sisters and tie the thread of love and celebrate Rakshya Bandhan.

4. Yama and Yamuna

According to another legend, Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by 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.

5. Indra and Indrani

In order to make Indra defeat with Demons his wife Indrani tied a holy thread with love and hope. On seeing this all the demons scattered and fled. It is believed that Rakhi filled with chaste love and bearing immense power of protecting the loved ones is started from that point.