Raksha Bandhan literally means “a bond of protection” and Hindus celebrate brotherhood on this day, the full moon day of the Shravan month. It’s a celebration of relationships where the symbolic thread, or rakhi bracelet represents an inseparable bond of love and trust between a brother and sister with a pledge to take care of one another.
If you don’t have a brother or a sister, the goodwill metaphor is intended to apply more broadly to your neighbors and community. Priests may tie rakhis around the wrists of congregation members or close friends share them. Women will tie rakhis around the wrists of the prime minister, or around the wrists of soldiers.