Today is Raksha Bandan. A day for celebrating relationships and connections between brothers and sisters. Brothers and sisters will pray for each other and bestow wishes of good fortune and safety.
How did it all come about?
In order to protect the people, my favourite of all the Hindu Gods, Lord Krishna killed the evil King Shishupal. Lord Krishna was however left with a bleeding finger. His devoted and beloved friend Draupadi saw this and in floods of tears, ripped a piece of her saree off and tied it around his wrist to help stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna was deeply moved by her sisterly love. He vowed to repay her love with his protection whenever she was in need. And so this ‘bond of loyalty and protection’ came to be known as Raksha Bandan.
Modern day festivities are more ornate
Nowadays sarees are not torn. Instead ornate and colourful ‘rakhis’ are sold on every street corner.
The sister also prepares a ‘pooja thali’ – a celebratory prayer dish with red powder called ‘kanku’, the ‘rakhi’ and some ‘mithai’ or sweets.
The sister uses ‘kanku’ to put a ‘tika’ on her brother’s forehead as she prays for his protection and wellbeing. This is similar to the colourful ‘bindi’ she herself may wear. She then ties her ‘rakhi’ around his wrist and finally stuffs him full of his favourite ‘mithai’! Brothers often give gifts to show their thanks for this love and protection.
Make your own rakhi and mithai
I’m not a big fan of the ornate rakhi and then to make my own simple ones using friendship bracelet kits. My daughters are old enough this year to have a go too. We use these basic friendship bracelet styles with maybe some gold or silver threads and beads on the end.
For ‘mithai’, we like to make ‘barfi’. These are little milk powder based sweets that are super easy to make.
TO MAKE THEM
Do you have a special day with your siblings? What does your culture do to celebrate the bond between brothers and sisters?