August kicks off the Hindu holiday season. It also brings a favorite celebration of mine. Rakshabandhan – is the celebration of the relationship between a brother-sister, sibling love, or a relationship that is like a sibling. Raksha means protection and Bandhan means a bond. It is primarily celebrated by individuals of the Hindu religion. Rakshabandan falls on a full moon in the fifth month of the Hindu lunar calendar. This year it’s celebrated on Thursday, August, 11th .
There are several stories associated with Rakshabandha in Hinduism and in the Indian history. One such story of Raksha Bandhan is related to the Hindu epic Mahabharata. In Mahabharata, Lord Krishna once cut his finger which then started bleeding. Seeing this Draupadi then tore a piece of cloth from her saree and tied it on his finger to stop the bleeding. The piece of cloth then became a sacred thread – Rakhi. Since then, Lord Krishna promised to always protect Draupadi and they considered each other siblings.
Traditionally, the kids and adults dress in their nice outfits, even Indian outfits for this ceremony. One sibling puts Kumkum (sacred red powder) on the other’s forehead and ties the Rakhi around their wrist and offers sweets. The sibling tying the Rakhi receives a gift as a token of love from the other sibling.
In America, many siblings live far apart, and they don’t always get to celebrate in person. Thankfully small businesses now start creating and sending their rakhi’s (the beautiful decorative string tied around the sibling’s wrist) as early as May. You can include treats, personalized cards, and even rice and kumkum (red powder). Rakhi’s can be found at your local Indian grocery store, Amazon, Etsy, or other small businesses.
This is a celebration that I have introduced to my children since they were babies. While they had no idea at the time, my now six year old daughter loves searching for the perfect rakhi for her brother and his favorite sweets. It’s a day filled with much happiness and joy. They are making a lifetime of memories while celebrating Rakshabandhan and learning about their faith, and culture.
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