Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is a festival that symbolizes the celebration of sibling love and mutual respect. When I was a little kid, I remember how we would all dress up well and wait to tie rakhi on the wrist of our younger brother. He would patiently sit through the entire ritual that started with covering his head, then we would tie a rakhi on his right wrist after applying a teeka on his forehead (ensuring that the teeka was really long and vivid), doing his aarti and feeding him mithai. He would then give the money that mum had helpfully put in his palm for us. 🙂 Being the youngest in the family, he would demand a gift as well and hence was also given some money. 🙂 Lots of fun and camaraderie marked the day and of course, tasty food as well. Then there were those special occasions when we spent rakhi with my maternal uncle and their family. More joy and festivity as mum could tie rakhi to her brother in person and we could do the same to our cousins. It also meant more gifts for us sisters. Overall, a feel good day that cemented the mutual love and respect between siblings.

Yes, those were the days when social media was not active. When every festival was not looked at from the parochial prism of patriarchy. It is quite sad that probably the only festival that celebrates the joyous bond of sibling love is subjected to so much vitriol on social media every year. Seriously, what is wrong if a brother feels protective towards his sister and vice versa? I cherish and welcome it. I do the same for him as he is my kid brother and will always be.

There are some who feel that they want to tie a rakhi to their sisters, I say why not? It’s a wonderful gesture. By all means, all rituals must evolve to accommodate our growing sensibilities and emotions. But to make fun of them or call them names only reflects the intellectual bankruptcy of those who are deeply unhappy. Wit can never be substituted by inflammatory digs. As a friend told me on Twitter today, perhaps festivals are days when dyspeptic people run amok. Now moving on to putting better filters on my Twitter account.

That rant over, I had a lovely Raksha Bandhan yesterday. Ended up making pasta for lunch instead of puri sabzi because the younger son wanted it. I tell you, we are all nuts. Did make panjiri, a prasad more synonymous with Janmashtami in the evening as a celebratory sweet. Here’s panjiri recipe link. The younger son also tied a rakhi to Coco because how could one brother be left out? 🙂 Coco accommodated the gesture for a few hours.

Missed not tying the rakhi in person to my own brother and cousins but had lovely long chats with them. Have you noticed how birthdays and festivals are so special because we make the effort to catch up with those who matter in our lives? Perhaps that is the entire point of having such days.

Panjiri

So do you celebrate Raksha Bandhan? How did it go for you?

Featured pic courtesy: By Dipak Shelare on Shutterstock

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18 Thoughts on “Raksha Bandhan – A Beautiful Festival of Sibling Love

  1. Tying rakhis is always special. We followed the same ritual like you mentioned here. Covering the head, teeka, rakhi and the mithai. Whenever we visited our Mamas we would have a mini-Rakhi celebration even on non-occasions.
    We had a lovely day yesterday. My brother had come over and I had the best time cooking for him. This day never loses its charm and I look forward to it!

  2. I love Raksha Bandhan. Even though we never grew up in the North, we would always send Rakhis to all our cousins (no brothers of our own) and would revel in the fun and cheer and warmth of the festival. Mom grew up in Nagpur so she still celebrates it every year by sending rakhis to all 3 of her brothers. It is a beautiful festival, as you say and I wish people would not allow their extreme views to cloud a heartfelt celebration.

    I love the idea of Coco getting a rakhi too. That is just too adorable for words. He must have been so befuddled by it though 😀 I can just picture his expressions.

    Happy Raksha Bandhan to you and your family, Rachna. May this bond of family always endure.
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…An Aunt Writes: Two Souls that made a differenceMy Profile

  3. We loved Rakhi too, just like we did all festivals.
    The thrill of dressing in, what we felt then, grown up clothes (Salwar Kameez/Ghagra Choli) and an excuse to eat as much mithai as out stomachs would allow was an unparalleled thrill! Of course, the icing on the cake being the money we received!
    I hate how the innocence of all festivals is being twisted into cynicism.
    I love the idea of tying a Rakhi to Coco and having Pasta as Rakhi lunch:))

  4. Yummy dish and love Coco being tied a Rakhi, Rachna. In the younger day, Rakhi was so much fun with the ladoo waiting to be popped into the mouth and stealing Dad’s Rakhi to tie on my wrist.

  5. Same. I had sent rakhis to all my cousin brothers and had nice long chats with them on the day!
    We are two sisters, each other’s fierce protectors and cheerleaders, we don’t tie each other rakhi but do celebrate the sentiments and I can’t see why not the ritual of tying a rakhi can’t be extended between sisters or friends or for that matter any relationship…like your fam did with Coco. That was so cute! 🙂
    Aditi recently posted…Thirty-Two. Act-Two.My Profile

  6. I didn’t know people had something against Raksha Bandhan too. I cannot imagine what people might say against this beautiful celebration of bond between a brother and sister. It’s been years since I have celebrated Raksha Bandhan… I miss the childhood days when mom would prepare the thali and my sister and I would make my brother sit still and tie rakhi. Loved the rakhi on Coco. That is so cute 😀
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…A bunch of tangled patterns – ZentangleMy Profile

  7. Would you believe if I told you I have never tied a rakhi to anyone?

    Growing up in a South Indian household, rakhi never existed for us. Going to an all girls convent didn’t help either. It was only when I got to graduation that this concept dawned upon me. Until then it was all what I had watched in movies.

    I would have loved to have a brother to follow this tradition. Maybe next birth 🙂
    Soumya recently posted…Dear Mind, I’m SorryMy Profile

    • I can imagine. I know many here who haven’t celebrated Rakhi. For me it is special mainly because of the lovely childhood memories associated with it.

  8. I enjoy Rakhi, the celebration of the bond between brother and sister is special indeed. For me, and I’m sure for a lot of us, it’s always been about that beautiful bond of love. I’ve seen a lot of tweets about Rakhi’s patriarchal undertones, and I know the roots of the festival lie in a brother protecting a sister, which is what I think people are challenging. From whatever I have seen on my timeline, people just want it to be a celebration of the love between siblings – be it brother and sister or between sisters. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that – religions and customs need to evolve with the times, as you said. 🙂
    Modern Gypsy recently posted…On being seenMy Profile

    • I said so myself that customs across all religions must evolve with time. Frankly, people can celebrate Rakhi any way they want it or like. My problem is with those who have a problem with everything and also use the most horrible words to convey their bitterness. There is a lot of online hypocrisy that I find deplorable.

  9. I don’t have brothers so never really celebrated it. I know girls at school would occasionally tie rakhis for some of the boys. I understand where the whole issue of patriarchy comes up with a lot of things to do with religion in general but in the end, each to their own as long as no harm is being done to anyone. I do love the rakhi for Coco though! 😀
    Sanch @ Sanch Writes recently posted…Book Review: Deranged Marriage by Sushi Das #AWW2018My Profile

    • Absolutely! To each their own. I was just pointing out that there are people who do have a problem with everything especially twitter ‘celebs’ who deliberately say provocative stuff. Those are the ones I was calling out. Strangely patriarchy is called out only for select festivals while other tribal customs are never questioned. This hypocrisy riles me.

  10. Aw Coco is soooo cute with that rakhi.
    You know that you and I are on the same page when it comes to Rakshabandhan. I love the festival because that’s the one day H and N pledge to not fight :-). On a more serious note I enjoy the camaredirie of the day. My SIL usually comes over with my niece and there’s much teasing and laughing. It’s just such a happy occasion.

  11. Lovely photos Rachna – specially of the dog with the Rakhi on his paw. Do you have a recipe for panjiri? I really love it but haven’t ever made it.
    Kalpana recently posted…Dignified #MLSTLMy Profile

  12. I love Coco’s rakhi. As a festival, I have the exact same memories of Rakhi. When my younger brother became a bit sensible ( 😀 ) he started getting me chocolates and sweet little gifts. Every year, I send Rakhis to my cousins and brother and call them. Here in Bangalore, my closest friend started tying Rakhi to VT (it started cos VT’s sisters were far away) so it became a ritual. We have now celebrates the festival together for close to 10 years and it’s a family (of friend’s) affair.
    I know what you mean about people’s views on festivals. It’s okay! I don’t think as much about what all one can pour social media.
    Parul Thakur recently posted…Gratitude List – August 2018My Profile

  13. Liked the post .
    Sometimes we need to let our rational thinking go to the back-burner continue with our customs and rituals built over centuries.. This way we would continue to create memories for us and our loved one that would last a life time.
    Keep going!
    Suman Deb Ray recently posted…The Blue EnvelopeMy Profile

  14. I agree with you. Culture and traditions can and do evolve, but not everyone changes/adapts at the same pace. While fighting patriarchy, people forget basic respect and courtesy. Sigh.

    In my home, this festival has evolved, but we hope the spirit is kept the same. Me and my cousins tie rakhis to each other, not symbolizing a promise of protection, but one of solidarity.
    Shantala recently posted…Crazy Rich Asians – Worth The Hype?My Profile

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