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Rift over Rakhi date

The sacred thread of love and protection seems tangled in star tantrums.

If pundits are to be believed, the festival of Raksha Bandhan — which cements the bond between a brother and a sister — will stretch for two days this year, albeit with a foreboding duration of time wedged in between.

According to the Hindu panchang (calendar), shreyas (sisters) can tie rakhis on the wrist of their shauryas (brothers) on Shravan Purnima, the full moon day of the holy month.

Now, some religious leaders in Ranchi are of the opinion that Purnima will start at 10.19am on Tuesday and end at 7.11am on Wednesday. However, another section of priests believes that almost 12 hours — between 9am and 8.30pm on Tuesday — will be bhadrakaal or an inauspicious period. So, brothers can either pledge protection after 8.30pm on Tuesday or before 7am on Wednesday, which will essentially stretch Raksha Bandhan for two days.

“There is no harm in celebrating Raksha Bandhan on August 20. The best time to tie rakhi is during aparahan, which is late afternoon according to the Hindi division of the day,” said priest Rakesh Choubey, who is associated with Durga Temple and Hanuman Temple on Kanke Road.

Dwarika Choudhary, another religious expert, insisted that the Rakhi ritual must not happen during bhadrakaal. “As Raksha Bandhan is normally celebrated during morning hours, it is highly recommended that shreyas tie rakhi on August 21 before 7am,” he said.

Interestingly, the state government has announced August 20 as restricted holiday for Raksha Bandhan, whereas most prominent schools in the capital have chosen August 21.

Niharika Singh, a contract employee with the government, said she would tie rakhi on her two brothers on Wednesday to avoid bad omen.

“We can go to office after celebrating Raksha Bandhan at 7am. The worrying part is that schools will remain closed on Wednesday, while the government holiday is Tuesday. I am undecided whether to take a casual leave or drop my children at my mother’s home,” she added.