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Rakshabandhan- A brother-sister festival

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Also called Rakhi, Raksha Bandhan is one of the two Hindu festivals that celebrates the brother-sister ties. The tie of sibling love is recapitulated with the tying of Rakhi, a string that can be very elaborate and decorative or it can even be a very plain and simple thread. Rakhi falls on the full moon day of the holy month of shravan, the month of monsoons.


On this day, the sister ties Rakhi on her brother's wrist, does his aarti, offers him sweets and in turn, is given a gift by her brother. The significance here being that with the tying of Rakhi, the brother has the obligation of protecting the sister against any evil. Of course, in the modern world, the concept has moved away from that, but our Hindi movies certainly even today belabors the underlying concept with scenes where the brother fights the goons to protect his sister. The emotional aspect of the relationship is highlighted with songs like, Bhaiya mere, Rakhi ke Bandhan ko nibhana (brother dear, do honor the ties that we celebrate with Rakhi). 


There are many stories in Indian history that bring forth the deep significance of the festival. It is said that Rani Karnavati of Chittor found herself to be in a tight spot in late 1500s when her fort was surrounded by the enemy army led by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. There was not much hope of winning the war. In despair, the queen sent a Rakhi to the mogul king, Humayun. Upon receiving the Rakhi, the king along with his army came to the defense of the queen. Unfortunately, he was too late. Rani had lost the battle and had committed jauhar (killing of self). But Bahadur Shah did flee from Chittor fearing Humayun's large army. Humayun thus honored the 'Rakhi ke Bandhan ko', forever linking their story to the festival of Raksha Bandhan.


In today's world when we don't really need that pledge of protection from our brothers in the literal sense, but the festival's essence of celebrating our relationship with them is certainly felt on the day. Of course, we know they'll always be there for us when we need them.

Wishing Every Brother & Sister A Very Happy Raksha Bandhan!


(By Sonal Kulshrestha)


PICTURE GALLERY

2016

In Noida, U.P, Rahul Kumar celebrates the special moments with his sister, Pallavi. (picture below and right) who lives close by and is able to visit on such special events.


In Texas, USA, Renuka Chauhan's little ones celebrate the festival with an elaborately decorated thali and in Indian traditional clothes, in keeping with the customs (picture below)


In New York, USA, Navneet Bhatia's college going kids are just as enthusiastic about the brother-sister festival ...(picture below) 
In Dallas, TX in USA, Raashi was home for her lunch break during band camp when her grandmother told her that the auspicious time to tie rakhi is before 1:30 pm. So they went ahead and celebrated the festival with aarthi, sweets and rakhi right away (picture below, left). And since her brother's friend, Debu, was visiting, she went ahead and tied rakhi to him too (picture below, right). That is the essence of the festival- you don't have to be real brother and sister to celebrate the festival. "Its the feelings that count" is so apt in this situation. When Debu's mom, Indrani Banerji, saw the picture, her reaction, "Omg that is so awesome. Gosh I'm getting all teary eyed". As for clothes, Indrani pertinently put it when she said, "I think that makes it cuter... so relevant to our lifestyles." Oh yes, we might do things on the fly these days, but, hey, again- its the feelings that count.
In Punjab, India, Deepak Verma's kids shared special moments on the festival by doing aarti, tying rakhi and of course, gift exchange.

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As is common in almost every household, Deepak's daughter tied rakhi to him on his sister's behalf who couldn't be present on the occasion as she lives in USA.
However, Deepak missed his sister and shared this picture of his sister and himself on Facebook (on the right) with this very touching message, "some songs makes us realize that they r sung n meant 4 us only ...PHOOLON KA TAARON KA SAB KA KEHNA HAI......though u r wer nevr wid me 4 da last 17 yrs on this spl day bt this song ur wishes ur support ur love ur concerns nevr makes me feel that u r so far frm me ...m always there wid u in all ups n downs of life coz u r nt only my sister u r my ideal my inspiration n most of all u nevr let me feel that m nt havng mother anymore ...u r like my MOTHER too ..LOV U DI N MISS U A LOOOOOOOT ..HAPPY RAKHSHABANDAN" 
Beautifully said, Deepak! Your sentiments are touching and a reminder that Rakshbandhan is not "just" another festival. That this really is a festival that makes you express your love for your sibling, to reminisce the carefree days of childhood that you share with your siblings and most importantly, to remind yourself that the bond we share with are siblings is and will always be special.

2015

In Gurgaon, at the outskirts  of Delhi, siblings and cousins meet from different cities to celebrate Rakhi. Seen here are Shreya and Kajol, tying Rakhi to their brothers, Aayush and Shiva.

As is customary, the daughters then tie Rakhi to their respective fathers on behalf of their buas (aunts) who are unable to make it to the event (below and right).

In many families, it is also customary for sisters to tie rakhi to the brother along with his wife. Seen below is Jhankar from Agra tying rakhi to her kapil bhaiya and Anshu bhabhi (brother and sister-in-law). 

In Pune, another sister, Karnika, enjoys the festival with her brothers, Kzithiz and Shashank (below).


DALLAS,TEXAS

For Anisha and Akash, it is a very special rakhi this year before Akash heads off for college.

Their mom, Sravi Wadawadigi, proudly shared a collage of rakhi celebrations this year and from many years back when the siblings were much younger (below).

SAN RAMON, CALIFORNIA-  Raghav and Keshav, two brothers, do not have any sister of their own, but they have many cousins in India and in America, who send them rakhis with lot of love. Along with all the colorful rakhis that arrived in mail, complete with tikka and sweets, the festival was made even more special due to presence of their grandparents who were visiting from India (below).

 HOUSTON, TEXAS

For the Achari and Srivastava family in America, Rakhi was a big re-union of about a dozen cousins. "We made all of rakhis with embroidery thread and using different braids", says Radhika, the oldest of the Achari siblings. Their rakhi-tying was ceremoniously performed complete with blessings from the older sibling (Radhika is seen giving blessings to her two younger brothers in the pictures below- center and right)

Devesh, the youngest Achari sibling, smiles as his little cousin elaborately performing the ceremony- below. 

Achari and Srivastava kids making rakhis. 

 Siblings and cousins tying rakhis ...

Brother- sister hug ... 

 PHOENIX, AZ


Dave wore the t-shirt that he bought during his recent India trip to celebrate the occasion. Here he displays the besan laddoo and rakhi that his cousin sister mailed for him and his brother Bobby (also seen in the picture). They texted the image to her so she could see that they ate the laddoo and tied the rakhi :).



Do you have rakhi pictures to share? If so, email them to us at desideewar@gmail.com, we love to keep adding more to the treasure. 

 SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

Ritika and her husband, Justin Gilfedder, proudly show-off the rakhis that Justin's Australian sister sent them, to honor her sister-in-law's Hindu festival (below).

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