My friend Ashok brought me to his Bharmour home when I was in India once. This was after a life changing trek through an insane mountain pass called Chobia. What I didn’t realize at the time was there was this pleasant Hindu holiday being celebrated. Raksha Bandhan, better known as Rakhi is a holiday between siblings that is super special. The premise is that a sister and brother show their love to each other by a couple of social exchanges. In the incorrect order they do the following.
How does this Rakhi go down
- A sister or cousin ties a Rakhi around the right wrist of her male family member and prays for their success and happiness
- She places red dye ( A Hindu religious convention) at the center of his forehead
- The sister puts grains of rice on the red dye
- She feeds him a bite of a sweet snack or cookie
- He offers her a gift and promises his commitment to keeping her safe. He also may feed her as well
- She cooks a meal. Hugs are exchanged
Rakhi by Chance…Again
Well to my luck and honor, Ashok’s older sister presented me with a Rakhi and fed me a dish she put her foot in (gneiss life translation: cooked immaculately). If I remember right, she served me dal that was stupendous; home made roti; channa masala and chili mushroom. She insisted I wash it down with a mango lassi. This was a very special moment for me that I’ll never forget. My assumption is he told her about our trials on the mountain and she said, “I have two brothers now”.
Rakhi by Chance Again
Fast forward to today. After leaving the gym with the kids, I saw my Indian (Gurajati) neighbors outside. Like always we exchange welcome hellos. This time I asked them when was Rakhi this year because I wanted my daughter to learn about it with our neighbor’s little boy (they play with each other like they are siblings) and my son. Ironically, they said “Today”. Shocked, I told them my intentions and they said they had all the materials and would love to do it with the kids.
Out came the materials and we were off to the races. Well…. slowly…. my son got apprehensive of the red dye, however, he was receptive to the Rakhi. He devoured the cookie his sister served him and loved the Rakhi. As always, my daughter was a good sport about things like this. She even was able to perform the ritual with our neighbor’s son.
With this experience my kids learned the importance of siblings in every culture, not just there own. I love my siblings dearly. I love my friends dearly. If you got a sibling or a good friend, call them, give them a hug or tell them how much you love them.
What about you?
What about your sibling do you cherish the most? Tell us by joining the conversation.