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rakhi photoPhoto by Divik

In India, most customs and rituals are symbolic representations of a larger meaning. This is expected, considering that emotions and prayers beside being carried in the heart also need some physical manifestation of actions to be understood and remembered.

Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is one such Indian custom that is popular across all sections of society. A heartwarming practice that is a symbol of love between a brother and sister, Rakhi is undoubtedly one of the most popular concepts of an Indian soul.

Raksha Bandhan which falls on the full moon day of the Shravan month of the Hindu calendar is not just a Hindu, but a secular celebration that is loved and practiced by all. Rakhi essentially means the thread which the sister knots around her brother’s wrist. This thread is a symbol of the relation or tie (bandhan) that the two share together and the brother vows to protect his sister under all circumstances and take care of her, on accepting this bond. The sister, on the other hand, performs aarti and says prayers for the well-being and happiness of her brother. The brother then gifts the sister some souvenir as an expression of his love.

rakhi photoPhoto by steelashan

The bond of love between a brother and sister is an emotion that everyone can relate to. If you are a sister to a brother, you cannot deny the importance of the presence of your brother and his influence in all walks of your life. Be it about your in-depth knowledge of cricket and cars, the reason for umpteen pranks, or why there was once chewing gum in your hair, your brother is the only one you would love to scream at yet never imagine a day without him bugging you to death. On the other hand, he was the one that taught you how to ride a bike, showed you short cuts unknown to the world and accompanied you on your first date out. He picked you up when late from tuition and walked with you silently when you were nervous for your very first interview.

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If you are a brother to a sister, you know what it meant to have her cover your back while you were out with friends. She made sure you got dinner after your spat with dad or advised you on what gift to present to your latest crush. She understood as you struggled at work and recorded poems for you to learn at school. It is because of her that you learned the difference between brown and beige and it is she who made a special gift for you on your birthday every year.

The connection of a brother and sister is too deep to define and explain on paper, and the emotion is one of fun, laughter, and understanding, that rarely any other relation is based on. They are foes for most of the time, pulling each other’s leg, yet deep down they are best friends, knowing each other inside out and caring and standing by when it really matters.

rakhi photoPhoto by Divik

Rakhi is a celebration of this undying love between siblings who are a support system to each other for life. The symbol of tying the thread is an external manifestation of the tie-up or connection that the two share. The prayers and gifts are ways to express the irreplaceable love that they share for each other.

The great thing about Rakhi, is that the custom is not only for blood-related brothers and sisters. The relationship transcends family and extends to everyone, whether it is friends, neighbors, and even strangers. Your close friend can be a like a brother to you, your neighbor like a sister to you. Many times, we tie the rakhi to the police or army men as an expression of how much we feel indebted to their service and how they like true brothers protect us at all times.

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On a lighter note, on the day of Rakhi, you find hopeful lover boys fleeing away from their dream girls in case, the girls who are not too keen chose to tie them a rakhi.

Colorful, bright and easily tied, Rakhis adore multiple shops as the festival approaches. Sisters throng to them for their choice and in case the brothers are separated and live in other towns, the Rakhis are posted by the sisters to their brothers.

Raksha Bandhan is that special occasion where the brothers and sisters show their love and care for each other. The knot tied on the hand is more if not the same as the knot that ties their hearts.


Photo by steelashan

Photo by Divik

Raksha Bandhan

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