The festival season is upon us in India. One of our sweetest festivals is the Raksha Bandhan Festival celebrated this year on the 2nd of August on the moon of Rakhi Purnima.
Raksha Bandhan means the bond of protection and Rakhi is all about celebrating the bond between brother and sister. The central ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on her.brother's wrist. This symbolizes the sister's love and prayers for her brother's well-being, and the brother's lifelong vow to protect her.
The festival is marked by the tying of a rakhi, or holy thread, which comes in many colors and designs, by the sister on the wrist of her brother. The brother in return offers a gift to his sister and vows to look after her as she presents sweets to him. The brother usually presents his sister with an envelope filled with money however, other presents such as saris and clothing can be given. The brother and sister traditionally feed one another sweets. These sweets include anything from Jalebi, Kaju Katli, and Burfi. Since north Indiankinship practices give cousins a status similar to siblings, girls and women often tie the rakhi to their male cousins as well (referred to as "cousin-brothers" in regional parlance) in several communities.
Unrelated boys and men who are considered to be brothers (munh-bola bhai or adopted brothers) can be tied rakhis, provided they commit to a lifelong obligation to provide protection to the woman or girl.