Raksha Bandhan is observed on the last day of the Hindu lunar calendar month of Shraavana, which typically falls in August.On this day, sisters of all ages tie a cotton bracelet or amulet, called the rakhi, around the wrists of their brothers, ritually affirming the bond and support of her brothers, receiving a gift from them in return, and traditionally investing the brothers with a share of the responsibility of their potential care. The expression "Raksha Bandhan," Sanskrit, literally, "the bond of protection, obligation, or care," is now principally applied to this ritual. It has also applied to a similar ritual in which a domestic priest ties string bracelets on the wrists of his patrons and receives gifts of money. A ritual associated with Saluno includes the sisters placing shoots of barley behind the ears of their brothers.
Of special significance to married women, Raksha Bandhan is rooted in the practice of territorial exogamy, in which a bride marries out of her natal village or town, and her parents, by custom, do not visit her in her married home. In rural north India, where territorial exogamy is strongly prevalent, large numbers of married Hindu women travel back to their parents' homes every year for the ceremony.Their brothers, who typically live with the parents or nearby, sometimes travel to their sisters' married home to escort them back. Many younger married women arrive a few weeks earlier at their natal homes and stay until the ceremony. The brothers serve as lifelong intermediaries between their sisters' married- and parental homes,as well as potential stewards of their security.
Among women and men who are not blood relatives, there is also a transformed tradition of voluntary kin relations, achieved through the tying of rakhi amulets, which have cut across caste and class lines, and Hindu and Muslim divisions. In some communities or contexts, other figures, such as a matriarch, or a person in authority, can be included in the ceremony in ritual acknowledgement of their benefaction.Raksha Bandhan is also celebrated by Hindu communities in other parts of the world. Although rooted in Hindu culture, the festival has no traditional prayers unambiguously associated with it. The religious myths claimed for it are disputed, and the historical stories associated with it considered apocryphal by some historians. More recently, after enactment of more gender-neutral inheritance laws in India, it has been suggested that in some communities the festival has seen a resurgence of celebration, which is serving to indirectly pressure women to abstain from fully claiming their inheritance.